I have to admit that when I saw 20th Century Fox was adding another film to the “Planet of the Apes” franchise, I was skeptical. I mean, the previous Apes movie (from Tim Burton) left a whole lot to be desired. What were they going to do now? Well, what they did, for one, was impress me to a whole new level.
Director Rupert Wyatt’s vision — along with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver’s screenplay — delivered a movie that literally put me on the edge of my seat more than once. In the original movies, there were always questions. How did the apes evolve into being able to speak in just a few hundred years? What really happened to all the humans? And why were the remaining humans in the forbidden city mutants? How did the Apes destroy an entire planet?
This movie ties a lot of those questions together and if you watch really closely, you can see links to where the original “Planet of the Apes” movie picks up. It brings to light that although sometimes our intentions to improve the quality of life might be well intended, the short cuts one takes to get to the end could cause serious repercussions.
I like the fact that they take you from the time Caesar was born to how he got his intelligence and how he evolved. As he lives with the doctor, he learns human traits and emotions. But as he gets older, his natural instincts try to take over and leave him confused. When he is forced into a habitat with other primates, he learns how to depend on his other half. As Caesar is torn from his home and left in the habitat, the feelings of loss and betrayal are evident and you feel his frustration along with him.
Andy Serkis (he played Gollum in the “Lord of the Ring” films) does an absolutely believable job in his motions and facial expressions. He takes CGI acting to new levels as he puts himself totally into the role of Caesar. I had to give a chuckle when Tom Felton got to utter the famous line “Take your paws off me you damn dirty ape.”
James Franco gives another wonderful performance as the doctor and John Lithgow, as his father, is often heartbreaking and heartwarming at others.
I don’t want to give away too much from a wonderful film. I have to admit, they won me over and I can’t wait for the DVD to arrive so I can proudly add it to my collection.
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is in theaters now.
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Follow Lynn Tackitt on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pvtgiggles.