Friday, July 18, 2014

Movie Review: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (2011)

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Movie"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Year: 2011
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

A scientist named Will Rodman is working on a new drug known as ALZ-112, which is being tested on apes in an effort to treat Alzheimer's. The drug has promising results, but an unforeseen side effect occurs and the apes that are tested begin to develop hyper-intelligence. In an attempt to perfect the drug, Will develops a new version known as ALZ-113, which has the same brain-enhancing effect on apes, but a much different effect on humans.

This movie is a great reintroduction into the Planet of the Apes story after the mess Tim Burton left us with more than a decade ago. The new, updated prequel boasts a good concept, giving a fabulous explanation as to how the apes gained their hyper-intelligence. There are also little hints throughout the film of what's to come in the sequel to the prequel, as well as throwbacks to the original "Planet of the Apes" movie starring Charlton Heston. Though a small, insignificant scene, there is a deliberate part in "Rise" where a news story flashes across the screen on a TV about astronauts taking off for a mission to Mars and their impending doom being lost in space. This example, and many more, are a great connector to the past and future of the series.

Though the human actors and actresses do a fine job in this movie, they are very much overshadowed by their digital counterparts. Andy Serkis is spectacular (as always) as Caesar. He is truly the king of MoCap. He brings so much life and animation to his ape character and these nuances make all the difference between a good and bad film. Using humans instead of 100% digital animation gives the movie so much more realism that you don't get with a CGI-filled graphic bomb. Along with the acting, the digital graphics of the apes are just very good in general, and even though sometimes you can clearly tell they are digital, it's not distracting like in other movies. One of the best CGI'ed things in this movie is Maurice the fact, he was so well done, we thought he was real.

This movie is obviously a catalyst for a continuing series based on the messages it tries to convey. There's a quote by Karl Marx that says "the road to hell is paved with good intentions," and it reminds us of Will's character and his actions throughout the film. His work with ALZ-112 & 113 are rooted in trying to make the world a better place, but his good works had unintended, very bad consequences for humanity. The movie as a whole walks a very fine line between being for and against animal testing as well as genetic medicine and sciences, and it also explores how humans view and treat animals in general. These concepts are not new to film, but they are portrayed very well, and coupled with stellar graphics and an entertaining plot line, viewers get pulled into this franchise all over again. Fantastic movie!

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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