Title: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis
If you’ve seen the old Apes movies, you know they are strange, and often over the top. The new Apes movie is a reboot akin to how well they redid the Batman franchise. It had subtle, good CGI, top-notch acting, and an interesting story. In short, this movie was really good science fiction.
Incredibly subtle CGI
This is CGI done right – For the most part. As my movie-goer partner mentioned, guy flicks seem to always need a helicopter crash. When it happened in this movie she giggles uncontrollably. That was the weakest part of the special effects, and was actually well done. The ape CGI was spectactular.
Andy Sirkis’ genius is in full effect here, and he got the proper special effect support he deserves. The CGI for his Gollum interpretation looked “okay” in Lord of the Rings. The apes in this movie look incredible. The visuals, the way they move, everything seems spot on for a super-intelligent species of ape. As you can see from the picture above, or in the trailer, the eyes, facial expressions, and body language of the apes are very human, and powerfully moving to watch. When Caesar the ape finally decides that he’s had enough, he gives a single look that still makes me shiver t0o think about. I remember actually saying out loud in the theater, “Oh shit, it’s on.”
James Franco keeps his excellent acting trend going and really nails every scene. He’s quickly rising up my list of top-10 actors of his generation. The talent pool in Hollywood is better than it’s ever been, if you slog through the ever-present bad actors.
They did a great job with the story as well. Between the baby ape and Franco’s well-intending character, I was quickly emotionally invested in the story. It’s fun and fascinating to watch in the first act as they introduce us to the lives of these people (and ape), and quickly becomes serious throughout the remaining two acts of the film – and maintains high quality storytelling throughout.
I feel like I’ve said enough without going into specifics. To reiterate, this movie is definitely worth watching. My movie-goer friend had never seen the Apes movies, but it was as easy as prefacing the movie with, “Charlton Heston somehow gets into a future where apes have taken over as the dominant species. You’ll learn how it all started in this movie.” And I learned how it started too, and loved every minute of it.
My score: A-