Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Year of Release: 2011
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Stars: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Tyler Labine, David Hewlett, Jamie Harris
Genre: Action, Thriller, Drama, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

The franchise "Planet of the Apes" is back, after the series of films that started being produced in 1968 with Franklin J. Schaffner at the helm and Charlton Heston as the leading actor. The latest attempt at reviving this series was directed by Tim Burton in 2001 with disappointing results, so this relaunch goes back further in the series, a prequel of sorts.
The film follows the story of Will a young scientist trying to discover a cure for Alzheimer's, since his father is suffering from that ailment and is getting progressively worse. Will has been trying the experimental drug on chimps and is successful in making a baby chimp develop extreme cognitive response. The chimp grows up (in stature and intelligence) in Will's house and due to a series of misunderstandings, finds himself in a county animal shelter where due to abuse and mistreatment, grows a progressive sense of liberation. Caeser, ends up leading a rebellion of apes yearning for freedom, charging against everyone who dares to oppose his force.
The film has an interesting premise, one where humans tampering with technology alter the course of nature. It's a recursive theme for many science-fiction films, but this film stops short of what could have been a very interesting insight into what the dynamics of society would change with such a revolutionary concept. The screenplay and the director opt to for the uprising of the apes and how the action set pieces function. The special effects are indeed fantastic and extremely realistic, and that ends up being the best thing of the film. Andy Serkis playing Caesar is the highlight amongst the actors, though John Lithgow is reliable as always. A conventional film worth investigating.