Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton and David Oyelowo

Rated: PG-13  
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: August 5, 2011 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox

Rise is a remake that takes a different time line and direction somewhat like the newest Star Trek film. The original creates The Planet of the Apes through time travel, by moving a young ape Milo (Sal Mineo) back through time having the future change the past. In this version biological medication does the enhancing and Caesar (Andy Serkis-through special effects) has his intelligence grow suddenly and dramatically eventually leading to Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

James Franco's Will Rodman is the head biochemist who is dedicated to developing a vaccine to limit Alzheimer's disease partly because his father Charles (John Lithgow) is slipping away from the plague which attacks the elderly. He is supported by Caroline Aranha (Freida Pinto) both personally and professionally. David Oyelowo is the cursed corporate head who wants the profit a cure would bring, but not willing to take chances unless the responsibility falls on Will's back.

As the chemical know as 112 begins to takes a significant positive effect on Caesar's intelligence, Will begins to treat his father with the potion. Early one morning dad begins to feel the results playing his piano as he had years before.

The apes work themselves into our comfort zone and begin to have human characteristics which endear them to Will and others working in the lab. Eventually Caesar finds himself living in Will's house and finding a friend in the father. As most science fiction stories a problem arises when dad runs-a-muck. Caesar defends his friend who has fallen back to his Alzheimer's world using a violent attack on an obnoxious neighbor to protect the one who has become a part of his family. That leads to the incarnation of Caesar into a kennel operated by John Landon (Brian Cox) and his nasty brutal son played by Tom Felton who plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series.

From there it's all Caesar and the other simians. Using techniques which would be comfortable to the Corleone family, he buys loyalty first by using cookies and later through force. He becomes the leader and takes over as the Apes rise to take over the planet.

While the special effect of using animation framed by human actors works, it is also a little stiff and in some cases appears to drag on too long. Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter were more effective in the original, even in their monkey suits.

Director Rupert Wyatt draws us into the world of the animals and brings sympathy for their plight particularly when they are forced into cages and under the experimental needles. He makes the case for their escape and drive for control and power. We may grow weary of watching what at times looks like stilted apes but Caesar does demand our interest and in some ways our respect.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Rise of the Planet of the Apes  B   B   B            B+   B   B 

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