Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Director Rupert Wyatt has excelled in producing a phenomenal prequel of the original 1968 Planet of the Apes.
Wyatt’s depiction inevitably proved a remarkable technological progression of the classic ’60s sci-fi representation.
Avatar‘s Oscar-winning visual effects masterminds, Weta Digital, combined with renowned producers and screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver to created not only a visual masterpiece but a moving and timeless saga.
Although Charlton Heston’s adaptation was fitting for its time, it could be more closely compared to Wyatt’s version as a prehistoric, theatrical science-fiction.
The use of CGI effects to enhance the digitally rendered apes’ life-like expressions, particularly with their eye-glances and body gestures, is impressive.
Jaffa integrated the concept of mirroring the parallels of human versus ape behavior brilliantly, which really is the core-element of the film.
Suitably cast James Franco is a refreshing choice of actor who defines the lead role of Will Rodman, a persevering scientist who tries to cure Alzheimer’s disease with a retrovirus breakthrough.
His experimentation methods used on chimpanzees introduces highly intelligent, close to human-like skills which backfires, risking an epidemic manifestation in the human-race.
Will adopts Caesar, Andy Serkis, an orphaned chimp whose mother is shot for causing havoc in the science lab.
Serkis (Gollum in Lord of the Rings) excels in delivering a poignant and startling performance which stirs the hearts of the viewers with a convincingly troubled and compassionate persona.
Captured from his home and locked up in a grotesque animal shelter which serves to be a prison for ape experiment, shows a heart-wrenching scene of Caesar being separated from his adoptive parent’s which sets the stage for a revolutionary uprise.
Rising from the ashes, newfound master Caesar beckons the apes to congregate by leading a revolt against the human race to escape imprisonment.
A hierarchical bunch of savage beasts, go from being disorganized and brutally wild, to being a united army and a “ force to be reckoned with.”
Film composer, Patrick Doyle’s gutsy electro-bass score builds a gripping intensity throughout the film as you watch the apes suffer abuse, animal cruelty and utmost injustice at the hands of Tom Felton, Dodge Landon, a taunting prison warden who rouses viewers with his convincingly ruthless performance as a heinous fiend.
Doyle’s composition of timely crescendos did well not to dominate the film with an overbearing or morbid tone to his score, rather added a full substance to the movie.
Typically comedic actor, John Lithgow, Will’s father, Charles Rodmon, portrays the role fairly, as an alzheimer’s victim who is temporarily cured by the retrovirus but sadly reverts back to his original state.
Supporting actress Freida Pinto as Will’s girlfriend Caroline Aranha, a veterinarian, and also the doting adoptive mother to Caesar, is an attractive choice but graces the screen more as an extended cameo appearance rather than a solid character.
Overall the cast seem relatively placid, which appears to be the choice of Wyatt’s direction, as it’s apparent the apes are the pivotal focus of keynote acting.
Shot in Hawaii’s Oahu, California and San Francisco, Andrew Lesnie’s spectacular panoramic cinematography is captured immediately by the grand scope of forest scenery noticeably in the opening scene, which shows a shrewdness of apes escaping the perilous traps set by humans in the forest.
A remarkable battle scene takes place on the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco when the apes cave in on the human authorities aggravating madness and mayhem in an epic, climatic war.
The “collective” scenes of the apes in masses proved to be the recurring signature-style of paramount cinematography and effects, particularly throughout the second half of the film.
By the end of the film the viewer doesn’t have as much of a clear differentiation of who is the more evil of the two, humans or apes.
Overall Wyatt has produced an exceptional array of heightened emotions integrated with visually spectacular effects which set this film apart from its predecessors.
If anything like the prequel, the anticipated sequel definitely holds promise of an exciting series of “evolution-to-revolution” chronology.
Close to two hours of emotive and rivetting cinema, this film deserves four stars.