When it's over, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a faithful prequel to the iconic original. It's an entertaining film on it's own, but for one to really appreciate this film, one needs to have seen the 1968 original, Planet of the Apes, with Charlton Heston, or at least know the story. This origin story depicts how genetic engineering goes astray and instead of finding a cure for Alzheimer's, the man-made serum ends up becoming the source that develops intelligence in apes and the demise of man. CGI actor extraordinaire, Andy Serkis, plays Cesar, the ape who inherits the serum from his mother and who is raised by Will Rodman (James Franco), the geneticist who created the serum. Cesar really steals the show, and he's amazing to watch thanks to Serkis's skillful portrayal. He brings the primate to life through facial expressions and bodily gestures. I can sense Cesar's pain, his disappointments, his innate nature to protect, and his desire to be free. Also, I thought the careful editing of the film helped to emphasize the emotions and feelings of the apes that would have otherwise been overlooked as simple animal behaviours. For example, a close up of Cesar's hand when he seeks Will's permission, or when the camera focuses in on the apes' eyes to reveal anger or sadness or regret. In essence, this film addresses the issue of humanity and the fundamentals of human nature. The love story in this film was not between a man and a woman, but between fathers and sons - Will and his father and Will and Cesar. It's about the sacrifices and risks we take for the ones we love no matter how extreme, and ultimately, it's because of that love, we let them go. I really enjoyed this film, however, I thought the film was too short. Running approximately 90 minutes, I thought the producers should have integrated 20 more minutes of character development for two of the characters: 1) Will's girlfriend (Frieda Pinto), who didn't have much of a role in the film except to represent a female figure on screen. The producers could have created a story arc where she comes between Will and Cesar or between Will and his work. This would have created tension forcing characters to act and react; 2) Will's boss who is head of the genetic engineering project. Yes, he was a money hungry prick in the movie, but not bad enough to make him the fall guy, literally, at the end. The producers should have included him in the ape experiments by having him physically bully the apes. Thus, justifying what happens in the end.
My rating: 4 out of 5
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I do like a good discussion. I think a discussion on this film, the original Planet of the Apes, and the 1970's Project Nim and Project Washoe would make excellent starting points.Delete