Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Prequels are pretty popular in Hollywood today, but not as popular as reboots. But most of the reboots aren’t really necessary or an improvement over the original, but in the case of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the case is completely different. Just a few years back Tim Burton tried to revive the classic Planet of the Apes series with a film starring Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter, and let’s just say things didn’t exactly work out. Now director Rupert Wyatt tries to take his own crack at it with a much different approach, a prequel-semi reboot of the classic Charlton Heston series taking us to the beginning of the ape revolution. This intelligent and exciting take on the Planet of the Apes origins is exactly what this series needed.

The movie follows a scientist named Will Rodman (James Franco) who is trying to find a cure to Alzheimer’s disease, something that hit’s very close to home for Will because his own father (John Lithgow) is suffering from it. In order to check if the compound works, the scientist tests it on chimps, the first one being a female known as Bright Eyes. But due to a lab accident, Rodman’s research facility is soon shut down, leaving him to raise the baby chimp of Bright Eyes known as Caesar, who has genetically inherited super-intelligence from his mother. But we soon realize how hard it is for Caesar to live in a human world, as well as with other chimps, and what really pushed the apes over the edge.
I guess I’ll start off with the humans in the movie, because technically they’re not the real stars of the show here. James Franco does a pretty good job as Caesar’s human companion and owner, and while I was skeptical about how Franco would pull off the scientist role, he gave off a pretty believable performance, but isn’t exactly a scene stealer. Same goes for Frieda Pinto as Will’s girlfriend, she doesn't offer much other than a supporting role and another person who sees the true potential of Caesar, but her character isn’t really fleshed out enough for us really to feel any emotional attachment.
There’s some other great supporting characters in the film, including John Lithgow as Will’s father with Alzheimer’s. He does an excellent job  in the role, and is very believable as far as his character’s condition goes, he is actually focused on more than Will himself which causes us to get almost as emotionally attached to him as we do with Caesar himself. The real great human performance though, is by Tom Felton who plays the care keeper at the primate shelter Caesar is sent too. Similar to his performance as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series, while his character isn't given a lot of screen time he still manages to leave a lasting impression on you and pull off a truly evil antagonist (Especially in personality).
But the real star of this film is of course Caesar himself, played brilliantly by Andy Serkis. All the expressions and emotions of Caesar and transitioned perfectly through Serkis, and anyone who see this film will tell you that you can really relate to Caesar and his problems including acceptance and humility, and most of that can be credited to Serkis’s performance. The CGI work by Weta digital is just phenominal, not going to over the top and keeping the realism of an actual ape, as well as still allowing the actors portraying to show  a lot of emotion through the ape’s movements and facial expressions. They also provide a great variety of different appearances and designs for the apes, making each different in their own way and not just making them a herd of apes identical to Caesar.
Patrick Doyle’s score for the film is also excellent, and really capture a lot of the dramatic and emotional moments of the film. But it also provides a great soundtrack for some of the much more climatic and exciting scenes. I works great to add much more tension and meaning to the scenes that otherwise would be much more dull and silents between the apes just comunicating with each other, and keeps the audience’s excitement and interest in the film firm throughout. Strangly enough the some parts of the score actually felt in sync with the sound effects in the film, so I’m assuming Doyle did this on purpose.

One problem I did have with the film though was the like of importance of the main human characters. While I understand Caesar is meant to be the main character of the film and not Will, I thought it was strange how some of the other supporting characters were more interesting than Will himself including David Oyelowo’s character Jacobs, who is Will’s boss, and of course Felton’s character Dodge. The other characters just had clearer intentions and personalities than Will, but thankfully the problem doesn’t really hurt the film too much since the main character responcibilties fall more onto Caesar, who unlike Will is well developed throughout the film.
There was also the fact that the climatic scene just sort of felt drained down to me. It was a pretty great lead up, and there was some very great action scenes, the whole think was very well done, but the main problem I had was how the big climatic scene was resolved to quickly. Honestly the film could’ve been longer to make the resoltuion feel less forced, but at the same time the midcredits scene provided a better explanation as to why the action scene didn’t have as big of an impact on the humans as I was expecting. It was really a much smarter why to pull it off and is a great twist as to what the audience is expecting, it really leaves you wondering about a sequel.
Over all Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a great well written film, with some really great performances and characters. While some of them could’ve been better, overall the real focus of the film is Caesar and Andy Serkis and director Rupert Wyatt both execute his story astonishingly , along with some really ground breaking special effects.
  I give Rise of the Planet of the Apes 4 out of 5 stars:
And here is the Rise of the Planet of the Apes trailer:
What did you think of Rise of the Planet of the Apes? Are you going to see it?