- Posted August 12, 2011 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Rioting in London
Riots of the Planet of the Apes? [Review]
Picture rights belong to BeyondHollywood.com
What should be digested as perfect summer escapism was instead too strikingly familiar to the behaviour played out over London streets during a week of destructive rioting. Maybe this element adds more validity than intended to director Rupert Wyatt’s concept and makes for an honestly terrifying watch, as we battle through both the fictional and real-life war for supremacy…
20th Century Fox triumphs with this outstanding prequel and offers a far more impressive ‘reboot’ to Tim Burton’s 2001 remake, by following the story of San Francisco-based scientist Will Rodman (James Franco).
The troubled geneticist spends years obsessing and perfecting the ALZ-112 drug in hopes that the ground-breaking serum could cure Alzheimers; a disease which is gradually consuming his own father’s life. As he experiments this breakthrough with genetic engineering, he finds that the drug appears to enhance the brainpower of chimpanzees, by infusing them with a super-human intelligence.
When a lab-test goes horribly wrong and threatens Rodman’s future at the company, he’s forced to “bring his work home” and raise a genetically enhanced young chimp named Caesar. House-trained and fully dressed, Caesar eventually outgrows his human ‘father’ and struggles to find the balance between his primitive urges and the human life Rodman created for him.
For this film to truly capture the intricate battle between man vs. primate the way it does, all credit is due to the award-winning visual effects team Weta Digital, who have been responsible for exceptional animation in films such as Avatar, X-Men and The Lord of the Rings. Weta Digital created the apes entirely though motion picture, which presents a refreshing change from previous entries in the Apes franchise which relied heavily on dodgy masks and furry body-suits.
Weta produces a CGI ape that’s capable to extract far more emotion than the one-dimensional human characters. Caesar develops before the audience much like a child from birth and you invest in his emotional journey. Academy-award nominated Franco and his on-screen girlfriend Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) seem to lack much depth and appear more than happy to let their chimped out co-stars take the lead.
The least significant and worst played out human character would have to be primate facility worker Dodge, played by Harry Potter’s Tom Felton. Harry’s nemesis brings the same villainous flair to his role in Apes, but while that overly theatrical performance was fitting for a life in Hogwarts, he seemed far too uncomfortable in this unrealistic American role. Though not all human interaction can be disregarded, as there are many truly tender moments served between Rodman’s suffering father (John Lithgow) and Caeser.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was more than anything a ‘set-up’ and gentle introduction to the forthcoming series but the faultless visual effects and final action sequences will keep viewers gripped. There will undoubtedly be many comparisons to the original but director Rupert Wyatt impressively manages to create a fertile blockbuster which treads new ground for the impending series but certainly keeps elements to familiarise audience members from earlier prequels.
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