Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
***1/2

Directed by Rupert Wyatt
Written by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver

Cast
James Franco as Will Rodman
Frieda Pinto as Caroline Aranha
John Lithgow as Charles Rodman
Brian Cox as John Landon
Tom Felton as Dodge Landon
Andy Serkis as Caesar 
Rated PG-13 for violence, terror some sexuality and brief strong language

Reviewed by Lamar Kukuk 8/6/11

Say what you will about some of their wilder excesses, but there’s never been a gutsier franchise than the one that began with 1968’s Planet of the Apes. From the stunning reveal that the title planet was in fact Earth, complete with gloriously buried Statue of Liberty, through those underground mutants with their Holy Bomb, the wonderfully nuts sequel that destroys said planet at the hands of the original’s own dying star, time travel back to have the refugees of the planet of the apes become the creators of it, and an outrageous ape uprising, the first four POTA movies are nothing if not an exercise in taking risks and changing things up. How tragic, then to see an Apes reboot done in 2001 that took virtually no risks (yeah, the Charlton Heston cameo was priceless, but even the kicky tag with Mark Wahlberg returning to Earth to find Aperaham Lincoln waiting in Washington DC felt more calculated than gutsy) and sought to use the Ape name for purely commercial purposes. One of the top-grossing would-be franchise starters nobody ever gave a moment’s thought to sequeling, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes took a decade to get washed out of our collective consciousness and now 20th Century Fox goes back to the well with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, an intriguing reimagining of the last good movie in the original Apes series (that’s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes for those of you scoring at home). The first Apes movie to use CGI effects rather than the classic makeup, it benefits from a superb performance by the master of motion capture acting, Andy Serkis, and a script that lays out a far more convincing Apes origin story than its predecessor. Director Rupert Wyatt has a good understanding of just how scary wild animals can be, and the production is skillfully mounted across the board. I’d have liked the human characters to be as interesting as their simian counterparts, but Rise manages to be a middle-of-the-pack entry in the Apes saga, which is none too shabby.

Read the rest of the review here: http://lamarsmoviepalace.com/riseofthepota.html