Monday, February 13, 2012

DVD Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the stupidly long title of the Planet of the Apes is a text book example of a movie that's pretty good. It's got great CGI, some solid action scenes and a fantastic performance from veteran motion-capture actor Andy Serkis (who is essentially the best at motion-capture acting in the world right now). It's let down on the other hand by one dimensional human characters, a disappointingly blunt script and some of the softest science I've seen in a movie lately. All of that more or less averages out positive, so what can I say?

For the record, the plot is concerned with...some guy, I can't remember his name, he's played by James Franco. Anyway he's a scientist at some big corporation working on a cure for alzheimers, which is the disease people always go with because it gives them an excuse to make the animals supersmart. Anywho, the ape he's working on goes apeshit (ha) and his project is shut down, leaving only her child who has somehow absorbed the drug genetically (just roll with it). Soon the ape, Caesar is growing smarter and more independent and blah-blah-blah.

Yeah you can predict the movie literally two scenes in advance, or at least I can, yeah it's cliched and yeah it's hampered by it's desire to play homage to the original series (at least 2 famous lines get rephrased in what I'm officially calling Terminator syndrome). For example, the film consistently presents Caesar as the hero, which is easily the best idea the film has (the pound where Caesar ends up bears a disconcerting resemblance to an insane asylum). But it's hampered because we know that the apes will end up the villain if they decide to continue in the remakes (which also gets hinted at, trust me).

It has it's bright points. As I said, it's got some good action scenes, a memorable performance from Andy Serkis and some of the best CGI I've seen this side of Gollum. But the negatives outweigh the pros, with a long and repetitive 2nd act (which cuts into the very good 3rd act), a lazy script (both in the dialogue and in the 'too many coincidences' departments) and some heavily one dimensional characters. The actors are mostly doing good jobs, in particular Brian Cox, who can probably do his role in his sleep by now, and Tom Felton (also known as Malfoy) who looks like he's getting used to being typecasted as a villain now.

As I said, it's not bad. It's a good popcorn flick and, while this may be damning with faint praise, much better than Tim Burton's effort from 2001. So if you're in the mood for a good action film, this could be worth a rent. See you next time.

Elessar is a 22 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he's officially renaming this movie Douchebags Doom The World.

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