With the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes coming out next month this inspired me to watch this 2011 reboot of the Ape series. I had never seen a Planet of the Apes movie before now but I had always been of the mindset that they simply wouldn’t be that interesting. Basically I had decided that Apes wouldn’t make for as good a movie as spies, superheroes or aliens would.
Despite this mindset I was pleasantly surprised with the result and how easily I engaged with this movie. First and foremost I was really impressed with the effects here. The apes demand a lot of screen time naturally, so because of this a lot of hard work was going to need to be devoted to make them look good and realistic. This is most definitely achieved and I believed what I was watching, they looked real – this was going to be a vital element to this movie and thankfully it was done brilliantly. There was a lot of action throughout which was great too, none better than the finale on the Golden Gate Bridge which was fantastic but if anything just a little short! I was also majorly impressed with the character development in terms of Caesar. They were really able to tell the story through this character and the use of movement, noises and facial expressions all worked together in such a way that the storytelling flowed through this character with considerable ease. Something that didn’t always require human characters to help with, of course their input was necessary at points but not as much as you might think.
The apes are the main characters here and then demand the attention of the viewers so already the rest of the cast are overshadowed. However, James Franco leads the cast in terms of the human characters and he does a great job, putting in a believable performance, something I wasn’t so sure that he would manage just because of his recent comedic roles. He proved me wrong and he was superb at acting the relationship that his character Will and Caesar develop. The rest of the cast add little to the picture, the almost pointless character of Caroline is played well by Frieda Pinto but she is never really given much to do. Brian Cox delivers as he always does playing a familiar role but Tom Felton seemed misplaced. His accent was all over the place and I feel that Cox could has easily taken on the role of Felton’s character too and being more effective at that. Certainly if he was trying to distance himself from his Malfoy days he is going to need a better performance than he puts in here.
So, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, while it’s quite the mouth full of a film title it was a real surprise for me in terms of quality. The way the story is told and the fact that the focus really is on the apes made for a great film, easily making the viewer feel for the characters here. Also this movie set up the sequel very nicely and has got me excited to see where this story can go.
BIGGEST FLAW – Tom Felton seemed misplaced
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Character development of Caesar
Rating – 9/10