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    August 8, 2011

    MOVIE REVIEW: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

    RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (PG13)

    Genre: Action/Adventure/Science Fiction/Fantasy
    Release Date: 4 August 2011
    Running Time: 105 minutes
    Distributor: 20th Century Fox
    Director: Rupert Wyatt
    Screenplay: Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver; based on "The Planet of the Apes" by Pierre Boulle
    Starring: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis, Brian Cox, Tom Felton

    Plot: A single act of both compassion and arrogance leads to a war unlike any other -- and to the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The Oscar-winning visual effects team that brought to life the worlds of Avatar and Lord of the Rings is breaking new ground, creating a CGI ape that delivers a dramatic performance of unprecedented emotion and intelligence, and epic battles on which rest the upended destinies of man and primate.

    Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes is never been one of those anticipated movies in my list because of the previous installments have ripped me heartbroken sown to the core. Tim Burton destroyed my faith on this franchise thanks to his disastrous re-imagining movie that serve no credential at all. The rushed production and several problems that arisen during the movie making process add my concern that this movie will am easy strip-down embarrassment into the already mocked-infested franchise. However, in the end of the day, I have to say that I am completely wrong to underestimate the potential of this reboot-prequel possesses. Rise of the Planet of the Apes not only beating that expectation beautifully, it gives the franchise a refresh button it deserved handsomely.



    In “Rise”,the brilliant scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) is addressing his company's board to push ahead for human trial of his latest drug known as ALZ-112 virus. The drug proves successful in his long run research on the chimpanzees, convincing him that the drug not only capable to repair the brain damages caused by the Alzheimer's disease, but also giving the primates the enhanced level of human intelligence. One of his test subjects; codenamed “Bright Eyes”, goes on a rampage because she believes her baby, to whom she secretly gave birth is threatened. The aggressive behavior shown has caused Will's superior Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) to believe that all the chimpanzees are contaminated and order full elimination.

    Defying the order, Will takes the last surviving chimpanzee's baby home and raises him in his house, along with his father, Charles Rodman (John Lithgow) who is an Alzheimer's disease sufferer himself. His father names the baby, Caesar (Andy Serkis) after William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar's play. Over the years, Will notices that Caesar has inherited his mother's high intelligence, and learns quickly. Will then gives the same virus/drug to his ailing father. At first his father improves but later his body's immune system fights off the virus and his dementia returns. In one accident when Caesar attacks the neighbor for harming Charles, the authority decides to take Caesar away from Will and eventually locked up in the primate facility handled by John Landon (Brian Cox). The cruelty treatment Caesar received during this incarceration only motivates him for an uprising against his captivators.

    Director Rupert Wyatt breathes a new life into this aging movie franchise by establishing some excellent quality of directions. Rather than having “Rise” anything closer to the original 70s, it goes to a reboot-prequel mode by telling the origin story in the modern setting. Giving the series a much better look is certainly a good thing to start although I am not convinced by the marketing strategy that Fox was deploying initially.. I like how it feels and I like how it connects the audience to form a bridge between this and the subsequent “Apes” movies that we have known for.


    Much more impressive than giving it just a refresh button merely, is the fact that “Rise” is able to juggle off a well-balanced act and plot that uniquely crafts in the causes and effects. Attentive story writing pays-off handsomely with the ability of the movie to explain things in brief. There is always a room to see the causes of an action, as well as the effects of the same action. It leads us to see the morality behind animal cruelty and animal testing – both on the causes for human’s effort to find a solution that also effectively spark the rumble between the two species. This genuinely produces events that sometimes can be a very audacious or intimidating, or even both at the same time.

    Besides the ability to lead the audience into the “show-cause- tell-effect” story plot, “Rise” is also blessed with a great stylish direction at the hands of Rupert Wyatt. Although he is more known for his writing jobs, Wyatt shows that he is a careful director with his ability to set the pace for a great setup. The first half of the movie carries the weighting of love and compassion along by forming the relationships. The second half is a great contrast with primary motives are born inside the “primate shelter” – giving a heavy sense of prison and monkey politics. Throughout the transition from the halves, it is clear that “Rise” has make a solid momentum and strong buildup till the rise of Caesar accompanied with adequate amount of thrill, emotional resonance and realism.



    Talking about realism, no one can do better job than Andy Serkis himself. Serkis’ performance on the motion-capture technology suit as has raised the stake of the limit of this technology into a new level. Eccentric and powerful, Caesar is easily the best character in the movie as the motion capture works well with the human characters and integrated beautifully into the movie’s condition greatly. One also cannot discount fact that James Franco has done some decent job by bringing in the fatherly-figure, stern yet protective and compassionate human to Caesar. In plenty of moments, the film becomes impressive thanks to the relationship and bond that has been crafted between Will and Caesar.

    If there are some problems in this movie, I have some minor one. “Rise” is been cliché because we once using the same animal treatment card to siphon the story. Cruel zookeepers – how many times it has been used in the past and recent? Then we have Tom Felton doing another round of bullying in a movie. Felton must have felt that he has not ‘bully’ Harry Potter enough that he chooses to do it on the primates this time. Besides the clichéd issues, there are some minor flaws with the editing job could have been avoided if not the fact that it is a rushed production. Otherwise, “Rise” has a great sampling for an excellent uses of special effects and cinematography to engage the audiences.



    At the end of the day, “Rise” makes Tim Burton’s version of the original remake “Planet of the Apes” a laughable stock. Perhaps it never fail to come to my attention that Fox has once again manages to perform excellent job in treating their aging properties. It’s double victory for Fox as they not only breath a new life into this, but also the X-Men franchise with greatness. This is prime example of how a movie franchise should be kept alive with.

    THE RATING:
    Story: 4.0
    Casts: 4.5
    Cinematography: 4.5
    Effects: 4.5
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 17.1/20.0

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