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Rise of The Planet of The Apes



Genre: , ,
Actor: , ,
MPAA Rating:
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Runtime: 105 min
Synopsis: A substance, designed to help the brain repair itself, gives rise to a super-intelligent chimp who leads an ape uprising.
Release Date: August 5, 2011
Written By: Rick Jaffa





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The story itself and the transformation of Caesar.


Hard to suspend imagination when every animal looks so convincingly CGI.

Posted December 3, 2011 by

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There was so much going on under the surface of this movie that despite it’s shiny coat of Hollywood CGI you cannot help but to love it through and through. When I saw Rise of The Planet of The Apes two things came to mind; the first is my dislike for pets, people owning pets and their defense in calling these cage beasts “family members” – bear with me I won’t vent. See Planet of The Apes gives us a theory into what an animal feels when you lock them in your house when and they mature with the feeling of missing a life that they were supposed to have (wild and free). Now this is 100% my opinion but I write this to show you what the movie leaves you with once you’ve seen it. The second thought that it left me with is a new understanding into sporadic attacks by well-trained animals whenever we do something to their master that they deem threatening even though to us it’s a friendly gesture.

People who saw the Mark Wahlberg version of The Planet of The Apes probably wonder how this movie with it’s realistic looking chimps fits into the equation when the original had them walking upright and talking. Trust me on this one folks it ties in perfectly. Remember the female ape who had that uncomfortable sexual tension with Wahlberg’s character in the original? Well Rise of The Planet of The Apes introduces us to the drug that started the transformation of regular “ooh ooh ah ahh” chimps into walking, talking, humanoid apes like her.

The story begins with Dr. Will Rodman (James Franco) working on a cure for Alzheimer’s using a new serum that he tests on various chimps. One chimp in particular who they affectionately call “bright eyes” has taken well to the treatment and begins to show intelligence beyond that of any they had seen.  I think you see where this is going and if I go any further it will serve as a spoiler for a movie that you would be better of seeing yourself. Long story short Bright Eyes births Caesar who is the Albert Einstein of chimps, Caesar first goes home with Will but eventually ends up in a shelter with other chimps like himself. After witnessing the abuse and torture by the human masters within the shelter, Caesar figures out a way to break them out and begins an ape revolution. The rest as they say… is history.

Watching this movie will make you understand the Charleston Heston original Planet of The Apes a bit better, it will make the sequels come together and it is a necessary movie for you fans of the monkey-men. I was absolutely blown away by how good this movie was.

One thing that bothered me however was the look of the intelligent chimpanzees. While I know that we aren’t at the point where CGI completely fools us, I found Caesar to look… odd, with the human eyes that he developed. It was hard to get around the fact that he didn’t look like a regular chimpanzee which took away a bit of the realism for me. There was an odd mix of real chimps and fake ones that looked a tad silly at times but midway through the movie I wasn’t really noticing it as much but I recall that being a huge turnoff from the trailers.

You will probably hate the human race after seeing Rise of The Planet of The Apes as the things that occur are a shot at the greedy and the rich that abuse the less privileged. James Franco is a treat as usual, being one of the only humans that wasn’t a bastard to the animals his acting of compassion and worry for Caesar was very well done. Across from Franco was the lovely Freida Pinto as Caroline (his hot girlfriend) and John Lithgow as Donald Rodman, Will’s sick father.

Rise touches on many subjects as I’ve stated and different people will take different things away from it the same way I did. Sure you can see it only as a prequel to a campy series on monkey people, but some will see it as a shot at corporate greed, exploitation and a homage to human rights, the abolishing of slavery (yes it kinda went there) and the ultimate commentary on why a caged beast is never truly happy.

While it felt like the movie had 3 sets (Will’s house, the animal shelter and the lab), Rise of The Planet of The Apes still managed to paint a picture of a small accident changing the face of the entire planet. It is a treat for the Sci-Fi fan within you and a must-see if you’ve seen any of the other Apes movies. If you had told me that there was going to be a Planet of The Apes movie made to seem believable and serious 10 years ago I would have probably laughed in your face. Don’t mke the mistake of blowing this movie off like I did, trust me the positive reviews are there for a reason.


Greg Dragon

Cinephile and opinion writer, Greg Dragon has been a fan of movies since the 80's when Kung Fu theater was all the rage and Roger Moore was James Bond. Greg is the founder and lead critic of Spicy Movie Dogs. You can follow him on Twitter @Rafacus or on his Google+ account.