Saturday, 21 January 2012

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

Rise of the Planet of the Apes 
Released last year, Rise of the Planet of the Apes did phenomenally well at the Box Office and gained positive critical appraisal. The long standing and iconic franchise has never managed to truly build on the original Planet of the Apes back in 1968. The last instalment was Tim Burton’s dreadful 2001 remake that pretty much ‘killed‘ the series. However 20th Century Fox obviously saw the financial potential for another after Burton’s film grossed in $362,211,740, and thus green-lit a ‘reboot’. Relative new-comer Rupert Wyatt was given the $98 million project, and for the most part does fairly well. The end result is a genuinely entertaining blockbuster that ticks most of the action film boxes. 
The film’s plot follows Caesar (Andy Serkis), a highly intelligent and increasingly human-like chimpanzee as a result of an experimental drug. After the project is shutdown, Will Rodman (James Franco), the drug’s creator, raises Caesar with the help of his ill father (John Lithgow) and girlfriend (Freida Pinto). However Caesar’s growing uncontrollable emotional complexity sees him imprisoned in an ape sanctuary. Harsh treatment by his captivators results in his search for justice and the start of a rebellion against the human-race.  Essentially a prequel to the franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes’s story is riddled with plot-holes, but remains a straightforward affair. Never delving into twists or narrative complexities, Caesar’s ‘origin story’ is an engaging and interesting one. However, the film’s conclusion is annoyingly underwhelming and its attempt to build a romance between Franco and Pinto fails miserably and is unnecessary. 
Andy Serkis’ performance as Caesar is by far the best asset of the film. The sheer effort and execution of Caesar’s character is fantastic. Posture, facial expressions and the growing humanisation are perfectly captured throughout the course of the film. Meanwhile James Franco performance is competent, never needing to truly test his acting capabilities, and John Lithgow is great as the father. However Freido Pinto’s character is pointless, while David Oyelowo and Tom Felton play the epitomes of the greedy ‘business man’ and an insolent ‘prison guard’.  Cinematography-wise, the film never stretches beyond the typical camera-work and lighting associated with action films. However where Rise of the Planet of the Apes truly shines is in its special effects. A BAFTA nomination and a highly probable Oscar one, are justified by the use of CGI on the primates. Outstanding motion-capture and facial-capture are amazingly complex and realistic even during sustained, zoomed shots.  
Overall, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a surprising enjoyable action film. Andy Serkis performance is fantastic, and the story is pretty entertaining. However it feels slightly light on the action front, and builds to a less-than-impressive conclusion .

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