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Overall Rating
4.18

Awesome: 26.79%
Worth A Look64.29%
Just Average: 8.93%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

5 reviews, 26 user ratings


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Rise of the Planet of the Apes
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by Adrian Starland

"Hey, Hey... We're the Monkeys!"
4 stars

First off, the reason I gave "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" a 'give it a look-see' "4-Star" rating is for the simple fact that it was without question a visually stunning experience, and not too shabby a story for the most part. The reason for giving it that high of a rating with a huge degree of reluctance however is because the movie is trying to convince us that it is something it is in fact "not," as "RotPotA" (Wow! What a curious "accidental" acronymn!) is terribly guilty of (if I'm permitted to use the awful & deliberate pun) "monkeying around" with classic movie history!

Billed as a "prequel" to the classic original "Planet of the Apes" (featuring Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowell) and its subsequent sequels, "Rise" may only be excused for that bit of brazen "overstepping" if applying that description to this movie is keeping very close in mind that this film should be more appropriately identified as being the "prequel" (or first installment) of a reinterpretation or reimagining of the established storyline we're already familiar with – and just as with the Tim Burton ((*coff-koff*)) remake, it does not fit comfortably (or even uncomfortably) into the "PotA" canon (though it still has better chance of that than Burton's equally imaginative offering).

While the preceding paragraph could be seen as "nit-picking" (after all, it is more than fair to keep in mind that ALL of the screen interpretations– both on the "Big Screen" and the "small" –have to date been anything but faithful to the original novel which was the source material from which the film & television projects were adapted), any legitimate attempts to try to include "Rise" into the well established mythos of the original series was effectively destroyed (or rather, let's say "seriously hindered") by the (dare we say it?) "800 lb. gorilla in the room": the ever-ubiquitous and overused monster known as "C.G.I."

Here's the deal... even for all of its differences with its unique story and compelling reimagining, Burton's "Planet" paid proper homage to the original film & television works by following in the tradition of its predecessors, namely: "Men in Suits." Part of the intrigue of the original "Apes" projects was the fact that there were actual physical actors who had undergone hours of intense make-up sessions who were then given the task to "ACT" the part convincingly.

The decidedly homo-reflective bipedal simians of the earlier works also spurred the imagination of the viewer, as it would have many if not most of us wondering what thing or series of things had taken place across the span of history which contributed to the future society of intelligent apes developing more "humanlike" characteristics and mannerisms (...for my money, I'd always speculated that they may have come about as a result of "cross-genetic" testing & cloning of Man/Ape hybrids: you know, that whole "Man Deciding to Play God" scenario which inevitably "backfires" on our arrogant arses).

But in "RotPotA" the apes are clearly and unambiguously "ape" – which is not to complain, as it does make the story so much more interesting on that level. BUT... this could only and truly "work" if we approach this story as its own separate and independent story (or as an "Alternate Universe" story, as it were) – anything other than an attempt as a "tie-in" with the popularly established canon (...now I'm beginning to understand why hardcore "James Bond, 007" fans have such huge problems with accepting Connery's "Never Say Never Again").

Even with all that said however, this version– as a "stand alone" film –offers few disappointments, but still it has its share of problems apart from those aforementioned. The biggest stomach-churning moments revolve around the overly cliché and seemingly obligatory big bad cruel animal "caretaker" who (naturally) gets his comeuppance for his insensitivities and abusiveness (haven't we all gotten tired of being "dumbed down" to like that yet?). Then there's the great "suspension of disbelief" moment involving how rapidly the apes in the "sanctuary" attain enlightenment with just a couple of whiffs of green gas when it took so much more effort on the part of the scientists who developed the concoction to administer the regimen which then required them to spend considerably more time actually interacting with the test subjects in order to ensure... you know what... never mind – just click the "OK" button on your "Install Suspension of Disbelief – Continue?" pop-up window and move along. Then of course, as should have been expected (but I'm still kinda 'slow' in catching on in that department), all of the irritating "hat-tip quotes" parroted from the original movies.

A nice touch, though not at all unanticipated, involved trying to answer (at least in a more plausible fashion than what was suggested by a couple of the original movies) what may have led to the "shift in power" which resulted in Man's drastically reduced population numbers in "Future Earth."

John Lithgow, for his relatively brief stint at getting some screen time squeezed in, is the real standout performance & scene stealer (at least as far as the "non-CGIzed" characters are concerned) as he seamlessly transitions from dementia patient to "wellness" and again slipping back into illness, all very convincingly and with such realism you really feel yourself empathizing with his character's plight.

And did Caesar & company really need to go on such a wanton destruction bender just to find a place to call "home"? (Or were they negatively affected & influenced as a result of having watched too much of that television programming they had beaming at them in their jail cells which caused them to want to go out on a wild adolescent rampage, inspired by all the random mob violence cropping up in place across the globe like London and Philly, as has been highlighted in recent news?)

If the producers wish to treat "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" as a "reboot" for a new line of "Ape" adventures building their own mythology, then I'm all in favor of that – even if it should eventually lead to an actual "remake" of the original 1968 version and they should decide to continue using the same "historical timeline" and F/X techniques of this newest project. But to enter this as a "prequel" to the original series of films is to do BOTH those earlier films and this movie a serious injustice.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=20761&reviewer=427
originally posted: 08/19/11 18:39:26
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2012 Boston SciFi Film Festival For more in the 2012 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/21/17 morris campbell killer prequel 4 stars
1/30/14 Charles Tatum A good entry in the resurrected series 4 stars
8/26/12 David Pollastrini The best ape movie since '68 5 stars
8/23/12 roscoe caesar only good character, movie's hollow, feels like only 2/3 a movie 3 stars
7/20/12 Sean Harrison Tim Burton take note, this is how the Planet of the Apes should have been brought back. 5 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC The abrupt ending only sets the film up for a sequel. Thats a gimmick, not good movie-makin 3 stars
11/26/11 AEB What every action movie aspires to be. 5 stars
10/24/11 Annie G Best of all the PotA movies! Although the virus-pocalypse is getting old. 4 stars
10/19/11 Magic A prequel that actually does not suck. And it's short! Serkis' acting is unbelievable. 4 stars
9/30/11 mr.mike Is "No Bad". 4 stars
9/26/11 sake02mo five stars 5 stars
9/23/11 Trina Lufkin More than one reviewer needed to listen better when movie said Apes AREN'T Monkeys! 4 stars
9/15/11 ALICE WOW ! Finaly a grande movie, been a long time... 5 stars
9/15/11 Nick Frigging loved the movie! Saw it yesterday evening, and woke up with it this morning. 5 stars
9/04/11 Koitus I liked it. Skeptical of the lock picking and know-how to release the drug, however. 4 stars
8/28/11 Heather Purplethorn Tangled web of political correctness(inadvertently?)makes mad-scientist figure animal lover 3 stars
8/27/11 Get a life, Ron Gonsalves! Many a soccer mom, suburban dad,&"Wii addicted" kid is nicer than you! &apesAREN'Tmonkeys! 4 stars
8/26/11 The Big D Well-meaning scientist unleashes marginally sympethetic monster--fun but nothing new. 3 stars
8/12/11 Eric Ivins Perfect Summer Popcorn flick 5 stars
8/10/11 Jon Going to see this soon, can't wait! 4 stars
8/10/11 Quang Thịnh What a great movie! James was pretty good. Everything is fine! 4 stars
8/10/11 Rick A wonderful surprise. Good strory, good acting, and great makeup and digital work. 5 stars
8/09/11 Mishyana Great reboot to a series hindered by hokey acting and dialogue. Well done. 5 stars
8/07/11 Spencer Great origin story infused with a ton of soul and a nice ramp up to the action 4 stars
8/07/11 Erica Cant they come up w/ a new story, why always the same thing. It was ok nevertheless. 3 stars
8/06/11 Man Out Six Bucks Anarchical apes overrunning the Gay Area and Indian Valley. What's to hate? 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  05-Aug-2011 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Dec-2011

UK
  N/A

Australia
  05-Aug-2011
  DVD: 13-Dec-2011


Directed by
  Rupert Wyatt

Written by
  Rick Jaffa
  Amanda Silver

Cast
  James Franco
  Freida Pinto
  John Lithgow
  Brian Cox
  Andy Serkis
  Tom Felton



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