Aug 5 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Present day San Francisco is the theatre for the latest incarnation of the Planet of The Apes franchise– 43 years since the original film. In this prequel of sorts Dr. Will Rodman (James Franco), a young scientist driven to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and save his own father (John Lithgow) stumbles onto what looks like a promising cure. But, when a lead test chimpanzee turns violent the project is abandoned, that is until a baby chimp is smuggled out lab. Pursuing his research at home with the baby chimp, Will continues to advance his science. But as the chimp becomes an adolescent tensions rise. Now just a matter of time before the chimp’s cognitive abilities rival a human’s, the stage is set for a showdown between man and ape, does our civilization stand a chance? So, let me level with you, this is not a great film, nor is it really a “good” film, it is however an entertaining film. Of course it’s over the top, of course the villains are almost charactures of the archetypes they represent, of course the whole thing is predictable, and even knowing that the screenplay lifts blatantly from films such as 12 Monkeys somehow I still walked out of this one with a smile on my face. And, I know what you’re wondering, who are the apes? Well, here’s one of the tough spots of the film, so for a number of the scenes you get familiar actors such as Andy Serkis (Gollum in the Lord of The Rings) covered up with CGI monkey art similar to the way actors were covered in Avatar. But then in many of the bigger scenes it seems like you get a barrel full of CGI monkeys– to which I feel kind of lukewarm about. In fact the majority of the film ends up being computer generated, gone are the days of Dr. Zaius and his counterparts. So, it’s sort of cheese ball sci-fi script wise and visually, but, then again that’s nothing new, go for fun and it won’t let you down as a matinee. Oh, and Freida Pinto, the love interest is easy on the eyes and that doesn’t hurt. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is rated PG-13.