Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the prequel to Planet of the Apes. It was directed by Rupert Wyatt, written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and stars James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Tyler Labine, David Hewlett and Ty Olsson.
Will (James Franco) is trying to develop a new drug that is supposed to combat Alzheimer’s. They are testing them on apes already and seeing good results. But right when they’re trying to take this a step further, something goes terribly wrong and Bright Eyes – they’re most successful ape – attacks her caretaker Robert (Tyler Labine). So the experiment is shelved. But Bright Eyes only freaked out because she had a baby – Caesar (Andy Serkis). Will takes Caesar in and soon discovers that he shows extraordinary mental faculties. And since Will’s father Charles (John Lightgow) suffers from Alzheimer himself, Will decides that he will continue the testing quite illegally.
I expected Rise of the Planet of the Apes to suck very hard. But I was pleasantly surprised by it – the performances are excellent, the script didn’t suck most of the time and the CGI was pretty good. Apart from a few moments where they just lost me, I really enjoyed myself.
Maybe my lack of great expectations made this shine as much as it did. I won’t deny that there are several moments where TEH STOOPID threatens to take over. But it’s never too much or too bad – they always make the jump in the end. [Even the trailer’s most head-desk-worthy moment, when James Franco talkes about The Cure actually isn’t that bad in the movie.] And the pacing is pretty much flawless, which always helps.
The other factors that help a lot are the actors. You’d expect no less from Andy Serkis or James Franco – they always give 110%. Tyler Labine made me regret that we didn’t get to see more of him. Tom Felton is obviously stuck being typecast (at least a little) and while subtlety may not be his strong suit, he does psychopaths very well.
The only bits where the movie falls apart for me is the interaction between the apes. I have no problems with accepting Caesar’s superior intellect, but why he should be able to communicate that well with the orang-utan [I forgot his name. Maurice?] that quickly and easily in sign language and why the orang-utan should be able to express himself that well made no sense and made my suspension of disbelief snap for a while.
But other than that, the story hooked me and pulled me along and didn’t let me go until we’d left the theatre. Which is basically all I want from an action movie anyway.
Summarising: Extremely decent action film.