Rise of the Planet of the Apes

 planetoftheapesDirected by: Rupert Wyatt

  • He wrote and directed The Escapist in 08, and Subterrain in 01,  but mostly he’s an unknown in Hollywood, it’s likely this movie will put him on the map.


Notable cast:

  • James Franco: Willl Rodman
    • you know him from being James Franco, but if you don’t, then he was also in: 127 Hours, which he was nominated for an Oscor for his very fine performance of cutting his own arm off (based on a true story). He was also in all the recent Spider Man movies, Eat Pray Love, Pinnaple Express, Flyboys, but he is probably best known for his role on Freaks and Geeks (I never got into that, but a ton of those actors went on to do very fine things.).
  • John Lithgow: Will’s father, Charles Rodman
    • you may not know who he is, but he’s a fantastic actor and has been in front of the camera for years. He is best known for the TV series 3rd Rock from the Sun, but was also very excellent in Harry and the Hendersons.
  • You may not know Andy Serkin’s name, but you know his work. In this movie, he played the main ape, Caeser, but in Lord of the Rings, you know him as Gollum, he also played his voice.
  • Tom Felton reprises his role from the Harry Potter series as a super big jerk.


One sentence review, ready? Acting, directing, plot, character development, action, CGI so good you don’t even notice, all good, go see it right now.

Multiple sentence review, commence.

You do not have to have seen the original Planet of the Apes movies to enjoy this one. It’s fun for the whole family at a PG-13 rating, but a little scary for the little one’s probably. I thoroughly enjoyed the fun action stuff that doesn't require high cognitive awareness, but also really enjoyed the sci-fi themes questioning whether or not it’s a good idea to be improving our cognitive abilities.   

This theme is reminiscent of a few stories, one of them is a short story called http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowers_for_Algernon&;rct=j&q=flowers%20for%20algernon&ei=zbJiTvCYNcbG0AG7psSrCg&usg=AFQjCNHMeij2j6ZAxpEd7fBXhV4MKzMzxA&sig2=8R5I5qAtGNxceAaT8TlMIg&cad=rja">Flowers for Algernon, where a mentally handicapped man’s intelligence is increased through a surgical procedure. His intelligence continues to increase even after the procedure, and other complications arise later on.

Another is The Lawn Mower Man, with Pierce Brosnan, based on a short story by Steven King. In it, another man’s IQ is increased by science, this time with the use of virtual reality. It all goes to crap when he becomes much smarter and gains psycho kinetic powers and starts lighting people on fire with his mind.

One more movie the sci-fi theme in Rise reminds me of is Awakenings with Robin Williams and Robert De Nero. This one is based on a true story of  real people who have a brain disease where they become immobile. William’s character experiments with drugs to see if he can wake them up. It works, and they actually wake up out of their coma, but the drug begins to wear off and they need more and more of it to stay awake.

Getting back to the movie I’m ACTUALLY writing about, James Franco’s character, Will, has a live in father (played by John Lithgow) with Alzheimer's who is degenerating quickly and is difficult to live with, even though Franco’s character loves him a great deal. Will also happens to be a scientist working on a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and is getting very close to human testing, after having testing it on apes and improving their IQ dramatically. I have so many things I want to say about the plot, the interesting turns and themes and problems with improving the IQ of a stronger species capable of using tools and speaking in sign language, but I don’t want to ruin it for you.

Let me just say this, not only is this just a good dang fun movie (if you’ve seen the trailers, then you know what I’m talking about) but this is a perfect example of a GOOD sci-fi flick. It asks the hard questions like, SHOULD we be doing this, not just IF we can (sounds kinda like Jurassic Park actually, thanks Ian).   

There are NO actual apes in this movie, all CGI. This was done by the improvements in cinema since Avatar, making it possible for a body actor like Andy Serkis to be wearing those markers all over his body on the suit, and not have to be in the studio, but the camera can still pick up his movements and differentiate between him and the background.  This makes for a better movie, just ‘cus.

The two big evils in this movie are the money hungry business men (hm...Aliens, Resident Evil, etc...) and, well, jerks. Caesar, the super intelligent ape, would have been fine had it not been for the jerk from Harry Potter (seriously, what jerk).

I recommend seeing this in the theater, if not, rent it, but here’s my only thing on that. We need to tell Hollywood what we want to see by spending money on it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of, um, people who are in need of the procedure referred to in this movie that would improve their IQ who spend ALOT of money on movies like Saw 1-18, Final, Final, we get it, we’re all gonna die, Final Destination 1-26, and others.  

I generally hate prequels, since it usually ruins an other wise fine franchise, especially when George Lucas is involved. However, just like X-Men First Class, or Star Trek, the new, prequel can be really good, and, maybe even better than the original.

Here’s where Nate goes off. 

I love movies like this when it brings up a big, heady subject like, should we mess with the IQ’s of apes or even ourselves? In my opinion, the fear is not the possibility of a race of ape’s taking over the world (though, lets not rule that one out entirely, apes are very dangerous, people’s faces have literally been torn off by their pet apes...no seriously, I’m not kidding).

But the real fear, in my opinion, is that...there are NO problems with it. That this kind of research IS safe with little or no side effects. Can you think why this might be a problem?

Well, if you can’t, let me spell it out for you. If we can increase our intelligence by a pill, or injection, or procedure, who will be able to get it? Everyone? Probably not, that’ll be too expensive. And not everyone will want to do it. And if/when this happens, the pharmaceutical and insurance companies will likely be very similar to how they are run now. Which means, only the people with really good  jobs will be able to afford improving their IQs and their childrens’. 

This is BAD. This will mean that the gap between the rich and the poor will only grow exponentially. Us dumbies will continue to be mediocre at stupid things like taking pictures, making websites, and writing about movies no one cares about, meanwhile, the super rich will be running the world and making boat loads of money off us all because they’re all just dang way more smarter than us.  

But maybe, by that time, a group of sentient apes will befriend us lower humans and rise up against the proletariat in the French Revolu...ahem, I mean, the Ape/Stupid Revolution.

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