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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Like any long running franchise the Planet of the Apes films just keeps coming back. Remarkable given Tim Burton’s 2001 remake failed to set the box office alight and seemed to herald its end. With a series that has spurned 6 films, a TV show and various other merchandise perhaps it was inventible it would return. Fans old and new alike should welcome this latest chapter as it heralds a fresh beginning of the intelligent apes always behaving very badly.

Wanting to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) experiments on a chimp called Caesar. Injecting him with a serum he discovers his subject’s DNA becomes altered. Gaining high intelligence, Caesar learns to adapt among his human friends. When captured and left at an animal shelter, his anger sees him free his fellow apes and lead a primal revolution. Horrified at the emerging war between humans and apes, Will tries to prevent his planet from being taken over by a species using its own brand of deadly force.

After seeing a slew of recent blockbusters high on pyrotechnics and low on intelligence, it’s a pleasure viewing one good at both. One can tell Director Rupert Wyatt was determined to craft a movie of high quality and he does so with ease. With a well-structured screenplay filled with action and drama, Wyatt allows proceedings to ‘breathe’. No rapid fire editing or logic loopholes are evident, just a homage and new start for a potential franchise built on solid foundations.

Whilst Franco and his fellow actors admirably equip themselves the real ‘stars’ are the computer technicians. Their rendering of the apes is amazing with Andy Serkis providing a great ‘performance’ as Caesar. You truly believe in these animals – such is the care given in ensuring audiences are drawn into the story. This is a more realistic take on the mythology and perhaps one the producers of the original movies would have wanted to do had the technology been available.

Directed by   Rupert Wyatt
Produced by Peter Chernin
                     Dylan Clark
                     Rick Jaffa
                     Amanda Silver
Written by     Rick Jaffa
                     Amanda Silver
                     Starring James Franco
                     Freida Pinto
                     John Lithgow
Studio  20th Century Fox
           Dune Entertainment
           Chernin Entertainment
Release date August 5, 2011
Running time 105 minutes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is an excellent addition to the series. Respecting what has gone before and marking another chapter, hopefully future movies will build on its success and prove that some comebacks can indeed be welcome.

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