Rise of the Planet of the Apes (9/17/12)

Rise of the Planet of the ApesMovie Two Hundred Thirteen

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the origin story for the ape uprising that leads to the Planet of the Apes.

Will Rodman (James Franco) is a scientist at Gen-Sys that is developing a cure for Alzheimer’s for his ailing father, Charles (John Lithgow). After testing a potential treatment on a chimpanzee captured from the wild, the chimp becomes extremely smart but lashes out after giving birth while in captivity. Rodman adopts the young chimp, who shows signs of great intelligence, and names him Caesar (motion capture by Andy Serkis). The designed treatment seems to work without a problem on apes, but affects humans with flu-like symptoms, leading to death. After protecting Charles and lashing out at a neighbor, Caesar is put in captivity and eventually starts molding the other captive apes with his intelligence and stages a breakout.

The main problem with prequels like Rise of the Planet of the Apes is that we all essentially know how the film ends. Rise of the Planet of the Apes essentially just needs to get from point A to point B, or at least set up the road to point B and it can be lazy doing so. Luckily, Rise of the Planet of the Apes tells an interesting story and makes you actually care about the people (and apes) involved. I’m a huge fan of John Lithgow’s and I never thought he got as much attention for his role here, but I loved his character. Andy Serkis is also a bit overlooked, but as always, does a remarkable job with the motion capture.

At times, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is unintentionally funny, or at least it was to me. It’s a film that seems to demand being taken seriously but sets up some situations that are inherently humorous or silly. I found this a bit distracting but in a weird way, it kind of makes the film almost more enjoyable. To its credit, I never found myself bored by Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but I was mostly indifferent to it. It was better than I expected but it never truly impressed me.

Rise of the Planet of Apes did eventually land in the pitfall of prequels I mentioned before. Although it is remarkable at times, for the most part it’s just going through the motions of an origin story. Oddly, I have seen much praise for this movie but not necessarily for Prometheus, which does a bit more than going from A to B. Since they are making a sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes that I assume further bridges the gap between our current society and the inevitable Planet of the Apes, it will be interesting to see how they keep the momentum of the series going since we know exactly the outcome.

I give it 3 are intelligent ape outbreaks the new zombie attacks? out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


52 responses to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes (9/17/12)

  1. Man, I love this movie. I had very low expectations (I always thought the premise of this franchise was just dumb), so maybe that is why I was so impressed by it. Any movie that can get me to care about a character that doesn’t and can’t fully exist is worth taking note of, in my opinion.

    I get what you are saying about prequels falling into the trap that we already know the ending, but if the journey there is fascinating enough, that won’t matter. That’s where I think this movie succeeded – it made me care about how the characters got to the end, and not just the end.

    By the way – your review criteria always crack me up. I love them.

  2. I was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this movie. True, we do know the outcome but I like to think of the prequels films as being about the journey. Good post, man!

  3. I enjoyed this film. Sure the story wasn’t great but it was fun plus there were some good performances by John Lithgow and Andy Serkis. And it’s still way better than that awful remake Tim Burton made. Nice review.

  4. I truly value and promote diversity and we all have our own opinions but I just can’t see what the big draw is on this one. The wife and I thought this looked terrible in the trailers and then we watched it for free on cable and it was worse than we expected… to each their own though. did you just recently watch it? Wasn’t there only about 20 apes in the “jail” and then when they escape and storm there’s hundreds of em?

  5. This was more a reamagining of tje prequal or a reinvention of it as the original Roddy McDowell, Chalton Heston series of movies had a different and in my opion more plausible sequence of events. I looked back at my review http://wordschat.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/rise-of-the-planet-of-the-apes/ and saw I gave it a 7/10. I also had it in my Worst movies of 2011 liist. I didn’t go ape in praising it and it derves more like a 5 of 10 in that light.

  6. In the original Apes films, they had a sort of time conundrum where the apes escaped the planet as it was being destroyed and wind up back on earth (when people ruled and not apes) then (and I’m not sure how this transpired) a virus destroys the worlds cat and dog population and apes become the new ‘pet’ it all grows from there…If I remember correctly.

      • Each to their own indeed, but I felt this movie was at least one hundred times better than the original “prequel”. Out of the whole original series, only the original movie had any purpose, and that was as a cold-war doomsday message to humanity to wake up and knock it off before we blow ourselves up and apes end up ruling the planet. Everything thereafter was mediocre at best, although some interesting science fiction here and there. THIS movie, on the other hand, presents a completely plausible idea (exaggerated, perhaps) that makes it both entertaining and thought provoking.

        • I liked the idea of presenting an origin point for the series (I think I’ve only seen the original movie out of the original series) but the execution left me wanting.

          • I’d be interested to know if you ever get around to watching the older movies if you actually prefer them to this one. Normally I hate remakes, but this remake is much better than the original Rise…

  7. I really loved the graphics on this movie! It’s not a bad origin story, seeing as it’s a remake. This praise is also due to the fact that it’s more believable than the original series… Why is that? Well, let me explain:

    In the movie “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes”, the origin of the smart apes is explained by a temporal paradox (smart monkey came from the future and determined others to follow him; eventually, the other monkeys become smart and conquer the entire World)… On the other hand, in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, the cause for the sudden evolution is a serum used to treat Alzheimer’s disease; plus, only the apes from a lab escape and take over a forest… It’s 100 more believable than the older version and it explains everything in a step-by-step way!

    But is it any better? Well, I would have to say YES, but only on the realism and special effects… I’m still a convinced classic movie fanatic! This is a great review, Andy! Congrats!

  8. Nice review Andy. I wasn’t actually expecting to be as moved as I did from this material but Serkis just really channeled the inner ape within him, and nails this perfect motion-capture performance as Caesar.

  9. I had a lot of issues with the movie going into it, like how armed soldiers can possibly lose to a bunch of apes, hyper-intelligent or not. But at the end of the movie, I just really enjoyed seeing Caesar’s character growth, and that’s what made the movie for me.

    I still think a crapload of machineguns is still going to put down an ape uprising though.

  10. You could watch the movie as an animal liberation morality play; it’s about the futility of contained the uncontainable. My dog really likes this movie – ha – as it has horses and animals and she tends to just stare at the TV when on…wonder what she makes of it! Check out my FRANKENSTEINian take on it, too!

  11. Nice review. I didn’t like this film a lot, to be honest.

    “At times, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is unintentionally funny, or at least it was to me. It’s a film that seems to demand being taken seriously but sets up some situations that are inherently humorous or silly.”

    I agree but I had a different reaction. The unintentional comedy bugged me a lot.

  12. It was a great movie and one of my favorites last year. Sure you know where it all is going, but the ride was very enjoyable. Looking forward to the sequel.

  13. Great review. I thought John Lithgow was great too – I have been a big fan of his since I first saw him in Third Rock From The Sun. Have to say that the ending spoiled this movie for me – we knew what was coming but it just seemed very silly when the chimp began to talk!

  14. Pingback: My September Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

  15. I will admit that I was completely against seeing this movie. The trailer for this movie pretty much gave everything away, negating the need to see it. Oh and Franco as a scientist? About as believable as Tara Reid was a scientist in Alone in the Dark. But I did see this movie a while back and was incredibly impressed. It was well crafted, the acting was great, it had all the right elements to make a compelling movie and it was a nice addition to the Apes franchise.

  16. Pingback: Beneath the Planet of the Apes (12/14/12) | Andy Watches Movies

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