August 14, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

The prequel series reboot by novice director Rupert Wyatt meets expectations. it has all the winks to the original series that the fans might expect, complete with statue of liberty, the ‘damn dirty apes’ and ‘madhouse’ quotes and even a cameo of sorts by Heston (try to spot it). Ultimately though, this is just a CG monster flick, with most of the plot progression nicely anticipated. If anything, it plays it safe with the evolution crowd - the apes no longer evolve naturally into a smarter society, but rather gain their intelligence from a miracle drug. In this sense, the miracle drug reduces the plot to the use of an Unobtainium, but more broadly reduces the philosophical implications (of evolution, intelligence, man-animal interaction) to a mere plot device and has more in common with a zombie flick than with the original. It is not a bad movie overall, and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, sure it was better than the 2001 Burton remake, despite how much I would have liked that one to have worked. Franco is solid and Pinto is as lovely as ever, although they are both underused. Lithgow and Cox were strong as well, although I can’t help but think that they were just fulfilling a role and nothing else. Definitely to see if you’re a planet of the apes fan, and also if you’re not, as it’s surely better than a lot of the other commercial stuff that’s in the cineplexes these days.