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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

 

  The original 1968 Planet of the Apes was a true classic of American film making. The 2001 remake on the other hand shows us why we should leave such classic movies alone. Fast forward ten years and we have a new attempt by 20th Century Fox to reboot the series with Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

 

  This film takes a few cues from the 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, but this is not a remake of that film. Think of Rise of the Planet of the Apes as a foundation being laid down for a refreshingly different take on the Planet of the Apes mythos.

 

  There are no time traveling apes or astronauts here; instead we begin our story in the very near future, were Doctor Will Rodman (James Franco) works on finding a cure for Alzheimer's at the pharmaceutical company GEN SYS.

 

  Doctor Rodman is testing his experimental treatment for Alzheimer's, ALZ-112 a positive virus that allows the brain to create cells to repair itself, on chimpanzees. The only known side effects that they have discovered thus far, is that the treatment raises the intelligence of the test subjects and that they gain little flecks of green in their eyes. Not bad considering the disclaimers at the end of most drug commercials that you see on television these days.

 

Medicine Side Effects Demotivational Poster

                  

  Will wants to move onto human testing, but first must convince his boss Steven Jacobs (David Ovelowo) and the board of directors of GEN SYS before he can continue. The test chimpanzee "Bright Eyes" seems to have a psychotic break attacking her handlers before crashing into the board meeting where security guns her down, ruining any chance that Doctor Rodman can convince the board to authorize human testing.

 

Sega GEN SYS?

 

  The project is scraped by his boss and Jacobs orders all of the chimpanzees that were undergoing testing destroyed. Later the handlers find out that Bright Eyes did not have a psychotic break but was in fact protecting a baby chimpanzee that she had given birth to in her cell. The handler refuses to put down the baby and Doctor Rodman decides to take the baby home instead of destroying it himself.

 

   We soon find out that Doctor Rodman has a very personal reason for working on a cure for Alzheimer's, when we meet his father Charles (John Lithgow) who suffers from the disease. Charles takes an instant liking to the baby chimpanzee and names him Caesar (Andy Serkis).

 

I can't quit you demotivational poster

 

  Against company orders Doctor Rodman continues his research for the next several years and soon discovers that Caesar has inherited his mother's boosted intelligence. Doctor Rodman is running out of time as his father's health and mental state continue to deteriorate. Will makes the fateful decision to steal supplies from work and begins human testing on his own father at home.

 

  The treatments are a success and Charles recovers for several years until his body begins to reject the ALZ-112. Will now finds himself in a situation where he must confess to his boss what he has been doing for the last several years, in the hope that he will authorize the work on a new stronger medicine (ALZ-113).

 

Caesar and Doctor Will Rodman

Wait a minute... this isn't the B.J. and the Bear reboot? What a rip!

 

  Jacobs is excited by the prospect of a working cure and authorizes immediate production and animal testing of ALZ-113.

 

  At home Charles in a confused mental state tries to take his neighbors car for a ride thinking that it is his own, the neighbor drags him out of the car, but is attacked by Caesar who is only trying to defend Charles.

 

  Caesar is removed from Will's custody and placed in an animal sanctuary, getting to mingle with others of his own kind for the first time in his life.

 

  In most movies I find it a crime when they replace good make up work with CGI, but that is not the case here with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This film is a prime example on how to do CGI right; it never breaks your sense of disbelief.

 

  Andy Serkis is a masterful actor who brings true life to the digital creations that overlay his form. Without his talents I do not think that the characters that he portrays would be even half as good as they are.

 

The many faces of Andy Serkis

Give this man an Oscar already! Before he gives himself a permanently hunched back!

 

  John Lithgow breaks your heart with his portrayal of Charles Rodman, he draws you in quickly and you begin to not only care for his character but feel sorrow for him as his health deteriorates

 

  The first two thirds of the movie are very solid and it was a nice change of pace that the events happen over several years, but problems do begin to crop up toward the end. The characters seem to reverse their previous stances on issues and the apes have a real hatred of Jacobs for no apparent reason. Also how does Jacobs know that the apes not only have a leader but also that the leader is Caesar?

 

  One thing I did learn from the movie is that the end of the world can be predicted if you find city streets covered in loose news papers for no apparent reason. These missteps aside this is one of the best films to ever come out of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

 

  This is a movie that fans of the original will want to watch closely, as references to the other films in the franchise are scattered throughout the movie. Think of it as a game you get to play while you enjoy the film.

 

  I would say that the reboot was a complete success; you will want to see where they take the series in future sequels. Go see this one in the theaters.

 

Final verdict for Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2011 7.5/10

 

 -Professor

 

 

 

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