FILM REVIEW: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Does the new Planet of the Apes movie roar or whimper?

I was defiantly in the crowd of the non believers for this film from the outset. Then a few trailers arrived and some were OK and some were interesting. I was willing to give this movie a chance and then I watched the film.

An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

James Franco gives a believable performance as a scientist looking for a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease by experimenting on apes. John Lithgow plays his father who is suffering from the disease and Freida Pinto plays the supportive girlfriend. The rest of the cast fills out nicely with Brian Cox and Tom Felton playing father and son and a Ape sanctuary and David Oyelowo as the head of lab where Franco works. Then there is Caesar himself played by Andy Serkis in his motion capture mode.

This film has trimmed all the fat off the plot and concentrated on an accelerated time frame and just sticking to the expected parts i.e. let’s see how the apes get smart and how they start to “RISE”. The first 30 minutes shifts through a number of separate time periods and we get to see Caesar grow up in a simple but very effective manner. The story moves along rapidly without leaving room for you to get bored and wanting more to happen. There are the expected nods to various aspects of the Planet of the Apes mythology including a key plot thread that could lead to a “future” sequel.

The relationship between Caesar and Franco is a key in this story and it shows in the build up to the finale with devastating but humble effectiveness.

The apes themselves are all CGI which for me was great but I was just expecting it to be perfect but compared to most films with CGI it was very realistic. Serkis once again excels as the face and body of a CGI creature having done the same on Gollum (Lord of the Rings) and King Kong. It really is amazing how much can be done with the eyes and body language and Serkis has fine tuned his craft well.

The music by Patrick Doyle was excellent and even creating a theme that I hope carry’s on to the next film in this re-imagined franchise.  Doyle has a proven track record with films such as Thor and Harry Potter.

So a big thumbs up for this Ape movie and hope to see the next be just as good as this one.

GS Rating: 4/5

GS Reporter: Montoya

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: