KT: Rise, Apes, Rise

Posted: August 8, 2011 in In Theatres, KT Personal, Reviews

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This is the movie I’ve been waiting for. Yes, HP&tDHpt2 was fantastic and provided great closure to the franchise, but this! This is a summer movie that I may just go see again in the theatre.

Saturday morning at 10am, (prime opening weekend viewing time for JC and I), we went to see “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” along with a packed-theatre full of rabid movie fans. The theatre was comprised of a great mix of people, mostly skewing older, but the younger crowd had a fair showing too.

After the 75 coming soon trailers, (including Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” – I’m excited for this one), the movie began. I was immediately sucked in. What I loved about this movie was the story! Yes, the special effects are fantastic and unmatched, but that’s not all the film has going for it. (See “Cowboys & Aliens”.)

James Franco has really shown himself to be a versatile little actor. I really like him in this role as super-genius scientist, Will. He plays a grieving son infused with a brilliant scientist who wants to make a difference in the Alzheimer’s community and is completely believable at every turn. The hidden gem of this film is John Lithgow, who plays Will’s papa in such a heart-achingly real performance that you want to rush out and give your own dad a hug after seeing him.

Brian Cox and Tom Felton (trying, in vain, to shake the Draco Malfoy off of him) play a sadistic father and son duo at a primate shelter – they embody everything that the apes would hate/fear in the human race, and they do it with such reckless abandon that it’s almost hard to watch.

Even the secondary characters, played by Tyler Labine (you may remember him from my favorite role in Zach & Miri – “Huck it, chuck it, football!”), David Oyelowo, and Freida Pinto bring something to the table and are not just ancillary people that you would care less about — they too are just as important as the Apes rise.

Director Rupert Wyatt shows that he is also on the Rise — this is a director I think we will see more from in the years to come. He shows that he can compete with the best of them and did a fantastic job setting the mood in this film. It would have been very easy to let the special effects run this film and people would have paid money to see a bunch of monkeys on the loose with nothing else going for it. Along with writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Wyatt creates a world, not unlike our own, with rich characters that we care for and can personalize into our own lives.

So that’s it. Great movie.
What! Oh wait, I forgot about one teeny-tiny, really minute detail. Andy-freakin-Serkis. I am absolutely and completely BANANAS for Andy Serkis. He is the embodiment of expressivity and really gives life to head-Ape, Caesar.

Here’s the thing about the Apes. Not once did I ever think I was watching anything but Apes when watching this film. The effects are amazing, completely unmatched and hyper-real. While the trailer may creep people out, once you see Caesar for the first time drinking from a bottle, you will fall in love with this character.

One last point: this movie does more with the character development with the Apes than most movies do with people. Again, the filmmakers could have really just relied on bad-ass action sequences and crazy Ape-debauchery, but does not take the easy way out. Your heart breaks and aches for these Apes when they are mistreated for others’ amusement. With simple hand gestures and far-away looks to freedom, the Apes will touch on the most human parts of your soul.

There’s a great little addition after the credits begin too…so hang around for it! It made me go squeeeeeee!

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