Finally I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes- the film I really wanted to see, but somehow it was always less important than anything else (I have managed to see Mission Impossible 4 three times during this time). I feel no sentiments towards the original, so I had no expectations really towards this one (apart from the fact that before it got any reviews, I was afraid it was death to the series and madness of the producers to make it). I’ve read reviews and everyone seemed satisfied with it, but knowing myself, I can be often very picky when it comes to films everyone loves or is neutral against (I really didn’t like Haywire and Poetry and they both rate very high within the critics…but what do I say- I’ve seen MI4 three times), so I was a little afraid it would not work for me.
It did. It worked. I won’t lie- I really enjoyed it against all the points I will have to mention in my review. I’m telling you this now, because honestly speaking there are so many things objectively WRONG with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, that at some point while reading this review, you might stop and think “eeeerrr wait a minute, you hate this movie so openly”, so I say it now- I really really like it. But it’s a little like me liking Mission Impossible 4- it’s so silly and absurd at times, but fuck it, it’s entertaining factor wins it all. And so it does in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
and I’m talking entertainment with capital E here
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a prequel to Planet of Apes and thus the sceptical attitude of many fans of the series. Here it tells a story of a young scientist, played by James Franco, who in search for cure for his father’s illness sacrifies his life to research on Alzheimer’s disease. However, during the main presentation of the new drug, the unfortunate series of events leads to one of the laboratory ape’s attack on the people present during the lecture. Franco’s laboratory is closed and he is advised to keep his research on theoretical phase. Although all the apes are put to sleep (that’s a bit harsh to be honest), Franco’s co-worker reveals to him that somehow he has managed to hide a little ape in this strictly secured environment (or is it?). Franco, being a scientist with heart, takes the ape home, names him Gollum…I mean, Caesar and starts his life as a single mother.
Ceasar grows into a very intelligent ape. At the age of two, he is much smarten than a human eight year old. He understands what Franco says and they seem to get along really really well. Nobody protests when Franco walks Caesar in a public park, and nobody is terrified (they are just angry) when Caesar breaks into the neighbour’s garden to play. Until he attacks a random asshole in the movie. That’s when everything goes bad.
Caesar ends up in some sort of ape shelter, where just like in human prison, he gets visiting hours, horrible food and bullies. Well, a one, really (in)famous bully.
Let me spend just a little time on the character ‘played’ by Tom Felton in this film, because it might be one of the most horrendous background appearances of the decade. He plays an unnecessary frustrated teenager who for no particular reason bullies apes in the shelter. He gets so into it that we simply can’t help but wonder if he has any sort of life on his own. He is probably one of the most ridiculous characters with the most ridiculous fake American accent I have seen this decade and I wish they just cut out all of the scenes he is in.
While James Franco is working on getting Caesar out of the prison, the ape grows more and more aware of the division between human beings and the rest of the animals. Seeing Tom Felton’s asshole face every day builds anger in Caesar’s heart and he decides to put the title of the film into practice. At this moment Caesar’s is literally fighting against the whole human race. James Franco’s boss, a money centered bastard with surprising British accent (to empathise that he is a bastard; see other films about nature where British people appear, like Anaconda) wants to kill Caesar, shelter’s owner acts like a underage bully (well, he’s Tom Felton’s father so no wonder why), the angry neighbour who put Caesar in the jail rages with anger, and it seems like the whole America is there to shoot the rebellious ape. And who do you think delivers the most famous, memorable and powerful line in the Planet of Apes series? To remind you, this is the line I’m talking about:
And ladies and gentlemen, the most important line goes to…
So of course, after this outrageous episode, Caesar and his bitches decide that it’s time to “prison break” out of the shelter, run to the streets and pose in front of the city view.
As I said at the beginning, no matter how absurd it got at times, how stereotypical the characters were and how unnecessary the character of Frieda Pinto was in this film (see? you didn’t even know she was in tit- she was so bland), I really enjoyed it. It focused a lot on portraying the prequel to the series and fulfil its role very well. The relationship between Caesar and his carer is loving and believable and we empathise with Ceasar more than with any human being in this film.
It is epic, when it should be and touching at times (although James Franco never shows any emotions which made me doubt if his character had any). The special effects are outstanding and overall it is a very entertaining movie.
(I just gave Rise of the Planet of the Apes the same amount of stars as I gave to Drive…feels confusing)