Friday, August 5, 2011

Box Office Review - Rise of the Planet of the Apes

You might think that I am a fan of the Planet of the Apes series because of the name Film Ape, and the picture that has been above my blog for a while now. The truth is, I am a fan of the original 1968 Charlton Heston film (mostly because I like to watch a human man kissing an ape), but it is the only film in the Apes series that I have seen. If you count the not great remake in the series than I have seen two of the films, but why would you do that. Basically I know the series only through the first film, so going into Rise of the Planet of the Apes I didn't have any expectations be they positive or negative. If I did have expectations that the film would be good, those expectations would have been met.

The most impressive thing about Rise is that it meets the definition of what a Summer Blockbuster is perfectly. The film offers a simple story that takes place on a grand scale, and provides a visual spectacle. It also got a surprisingly enthusiastic response from the audience at my screening, which really added to the experience. It is nice, especially in the Summer, to have a film that surprises.

I am getting tired of writing plot synopsis for these reviews, and I am not sure it is necessary, but just in case it is, here's a short one. James Franco plays a scientist who is experimenting on lab apes in order to find a cure for his father (John Lithgow) who is suffering from Alzheimer. After a few set backs, he ends up having to take care of an Ape named Caesar who is the main character in the movie. This is just the beginning of the film, and the story evolves nicely into a prison escape film and then a disaster movie.

As Caesar plays such an integral part in the movie, there is an enormous amount of computer generated effects throughout Rise. Aside from some massive scenes that look less than amazing, the CG in this film is masterful. The great Andy Serkis provides the motion capture for Caesar himself, and like all his previous animated characters, Caesar is an incredibly sympathetic character.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes gives a glimpse at what the future of movies could be. The amount of superb CG in the movie really impressed me, and this is coming from someone who isn't the biggest fan of computer effects. What Rise does to set itself apart from every other effects extravaganza this summer, is use advanced effects to tell a story full of heart and complex emotion. This film already feels like a classic Summer popcorn movie, but only time will tell if it will be accepted as such. I really hope that it is.

A Gold Banana

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