HT Schuyler: Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

Posted: August 13, 2011 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews

Rated PG animal violence, mild language and some terror.

Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox and Tom Felton.

Directed by: Rupert Wyatt.

Planet of the Apes is one of those franchises that I’m not all too familiar with, but I know enough to know that this is inspired by the film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and is suppose to reboot the series, NOT a sequel to Tim Burton’s 2001 Planet of the Apes...and the less said about that movie the better. The 1968 Planet of the Apes is a brilliant classic, and though this movie is definitely similar to it, it’s not exactly the same thing either.

The film starts off with the death of scientist Will Rodman’s (James Franco) prized ape, only for him to be left with her newborn son, whom he takes home with him, only to discover that he posses the same genetic brilliance that his mother had (due to Rodman’s experiments). Years pass and the ape, named Caesar (Andy Serkis), becomes more and more intelligent, until one day he attacks a neighbor because he was picking on Rodman’s father (John Lithgow), who has Alzheimer’s disease. Caesar is sent to basically a pound for apes, where he forms a plan for escape, and starts a revolution for freedom with his fellow apes.

Despite James Franco being the top billed actor and the first thing person you think about when watching the trailer, he is not the star of the movie. The star of the movie is Andy Serkis, who does the motion capture for Caesar, like he did in The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, and he is absolutely brilliant. Serkis talented movements and actions as the ape mixed with the fantastic animation creates one the most memorable movie characters of the year. The film is at its best when he is on screen. As far as the human characters go, everyone is good. There isn’t any stand out performances, besides maybe John Lithgow, as he has to portray a character suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, but he does it very well. Franco is good, as is his love interest Freida Pinto. Tom Felton plays his usual dickhead character, but does a good job at trying to sound American, though sometimes it’s just laughable. Granted, he does have the best scene in the movie. Brain Cox isn’t in it all that much, but when he is he does a good job. Overall all the human actors are good, but unfortunately they are outdone by the animated apes, who are simple incredible.

The Good:

After the first half of the movie, I was actually wondering to myself how they were going to connect this movie to the other films, but once it was done, everything made sense, and they cleverly answered almost all my questions. Almost everything that happened in the film felt believable, as in something like this could actually happen. People might be skeptical on how well the CG will look, but fear not, it’s incredible. Everything that happens looks genuine, and Caesar looks incredible. If you don’t want to see it for the story, see it just to marvel at the awesomeness of Weta Digital (the special effects company), because it’s sometimes mind blowing at how they were able to accomplish what they did, and that in itself deserves credit. Above anything else, the movie is constantly entertaining, and has some pretty damn epic moments. There are some obvious references to the earlier films, some subtle, some not, but I actually enjoyed all of them, because they fit cleverly into the story.

The Bad:

Despite everything seeming believable, there are scenes, or lines of dialogue I should say, where you are either going to buy it or you won’t. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say it will require some suspension of disbelief. As much as I love all the scenes with the apes, as they really are the best thing about the movie, I found all the scenes with the humans boring. The first half was kind of dull, as the characters are not that interesting, and some of the subplots are unnecessary (with the exception of the story about Rodman’s father, as I thought that was really well done). Plus there’s a forced love story that really wasn’t needed. There was also a small question I had that I can’t say without spoiling, but let’s just say the speed on how a chemical works is sometimes unclear. But above all these the main flaw is really just that the humans are not that interesting, which is unfortunate, as they had some great talent to work with.

In Conclusion:

This is a perfect summer blockbuster. It has both great action, a great story, and is constantly entertaining. Besides some flaws, there is really nobody who I wouldn’t recommend this movie to. It follows the originals, but has a unique twist that allows it to stand on its own. If your a fan of the originals or not, definitely check it out. It’s an incredible experience that deserves to be seen. Highly recommended.


  1. CMrok93 says:

    It has more depth than you expect, and it does have some action for those people looking for that. but what’s really is amazing is Serkis’ performance as Caesar that is, dare I say, Oscar worthy? Good Review HT!

  2. Definitely in agreement with you. Pleasantly surprised by this all the way. And the Human characters are laughable, there’s no question about it. I think its because they wanted to flip the script and have the Apes be the heroes of the film here, so its easier for audiences to root for them if all the humans they meet are cardboard cutouts…

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