Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Look at that stern ape.
“Evolution Becomes Revolution”

Hey y’all welcome to The Tagline! As promised, today I will NOT be talking about a horror movie, but you will probably be sad by the time I’m done. Today I will be talking about the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes. For those of you who remember the film Outbreak, just think of that, only also there are super intelligent primates. That is basically what’s on offer here, but I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself so let’s back it up. Rise does not exist in continuity with any other Planet of the Apes movie, instead it is an origin story independent from all the others and intended to kick off a new series of films. At the same time, the movie aims to be consistent in theme with the original movies. To compare, the director Rupert Wyatt said his aim was similar to what was done in Batman Begins. How successful was he at that? Look under the cut to find out! (OH THE SUSPENSE DON’T YOU FEEL DRAWN IN)

Look how high he is. Sooooo high.
Rise stars James Franco as Will Rodman, the leader of a team experimenting with a viral therapy for combating the effects of brain diseases such as Alzheimer's. Testing begins on a chimp subject, Bright Eyes (because of the bright green flecks that appear as a result of the treatment), which shows an augmented cognitive capacity, well beyond that of normal primates. The chimp becomes aggressive however, and breaks free and is killed. At this point Robert Franklin, the chimp handler attached to the project, is ordered to euthanize all the chimps. He does, save for the discovered baby of the Bright Eyes (which explains her aggressive behavior). Franklin passes off the baby to Will, who takes it home, naming him Caesar. Will's project is shelved because of Bright Eye's escape, but he uses the virus on his father in an act of desperation, as his father is suffering from an advanced stage of dementia. The serum allows him to make a better than perfect recovery (it is suggested that his cognitive function is enhanced) and Will raises Caesar in his home. Everything seems to be going very happy, and you just KNOW that shit isn't going to last so let's fast forward a little bit.

That's quite enough Draco Malfoy!
Caesar is grown up (he is seven I think?) and can sign all sorts of complex words and ideas, and is having an existential crisis because he isn't a person, but he is way smarter than a normal ape. Will's father is beginning to relapse, as his body develops a resistance to the original virus. In desperation, Will reveals to his boss that he conducted a spectacularly successful human trial on his father, and the project is re-opened. The new virus is an aerosol, and despite Will urging caution in its application his boss goes ahead mass-producing it. While this virus appears to have about the same effect on Apes, it has no beneficial effect on humans (in fact we discover later that it kills them). Will's dad dies, and Caesar attacks the neighbor after an altercation and is sent to the WORST PLACE EVER. It's a primate sanctuary, only it's more like the Legion of Doom because it's run by WILLIAM STRYKER (Brian Cox) AND HIS SON DRACO MALFOY (Tom Felton). I don't know who entrusted these two with highly intelligent animal care, but the next stretch of the movie is... it's pretty depressing. Actually I found this entire movie to be kind of a bummer, because Will is a good guy, and Caesar is a good guy...ape, but everything just... it goes so wrong. It's like watching A Game of Thrones only half the cast is primates... and also a lot less dongs. Okay so it's not like A Game of Thrones, but it is really sad!

I don't think that van came stock like that.
I won't go through the rest of the plot, but eventually the apes escape to the redwood forests outside of San Francisco (where the movie takes place oh yeah) and Will and Caesar part ways. In a postcredit scene we are treated to Will's neighbor, who is an airliner pilot, being sick from the superchimp virus, and then we get to see a map of the virus spreading over the world, presumably annihilating most if not all of mankind. So that is a cheery little post-credit Easter Egg! I was surprised to find that this movie was actually really well done (I did not care at all for the previous remake of Planet of The Apes at ALL) and disappointed to hear that Rupert Wyatt is no longer attache to the upcoming sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Instead that movie is now being helmed by director Matt Reeves, who regrettably directed the movie Cloverfield (for my feelings about that shitshow see here). That being said, the writers for Dawn are the same, so we can hope that a movie of similar narrative quality is produced at least (I am still worried though because it seems like they're really rushing production).

The bottom line is, I was very pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable Rise of the Planet of the Apes was. It manages to pay homage to other Planet of the Apes movies without being slavish to them, and feels fresh without straying completely from the original idea. If you have the chance, I can definitely recommend it! Just be ready to be sad. Also be ready to watch Gollum as an ape (Andy Serkis did the motion capture for Caesar too).

That's it for today! Join me next week, when I explode with bile and hate over Sophia Coppola's incredibly shitty movies!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Project Wonderful Ad