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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) Movie Review

August 5, 2011

Every time a movie is announced that is related to an existing movie, especially one as classic as “Planet of the Apes,” the fans scream about how the remake is not necessary.  “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is a strange beast in that it isn’t exactly a remake and it isn’t exactly a prequel but a combination of both.  It takes the story to a modern beginning, giving an alternate explanation for the cause of the rise.  For the most part the plot works well.

The movie takes its time to set up the plot as Will Rodman (James Franco) brings home the child of a test ape, that he names Caesar, after a failed experiment of a drug that is being developed as a cure to Alzheimer’s.  Rodman works on perfecting the formula of his drug while raising Caesar and monitoring his progress.  One day, after an incident in which Caesar attacks one of Rodman’s neighbors, Caesar is brought to the local animal shelter where he is holed up with a number of other apes.  This confinement starts what eventually leads to Caesar’s freeing of the other apes and taking charge as their leader.

The first half of the movie gives a nice introduction to the way the drug works and the effects it has on the apes.  Caesar is given full character development like any human character would.  Through this development, I grew to care for him by the end of the film.  In the second half of the film, things start to get more interesting as Caesar starts to find ways to get out of his cell.  The scenes involving the escape and eventual rampage are wonderfully shot and give a fantastic feeling of excitement.

Patrick Doyle’s score is fantastic, helping the film rise to new heights far beyond the images on screen.  “Caesar’s Theme”, as played on an ostrich egg is wonderfully used both in the slower emotional cues and also in the action pieces.  Doyle composed some fantastic heroic pieces that are used wonderfully in scenes where the apes are climbing trees, very similar to traditional flight themes.  The action music is very similar in style to many of the Hans Zimmer scores of recent years but is much more natural, without any synthesizers.  The percussion is mixed wonderfully with orchestra to create some of the most exhilarating action music I have heard in a long time.

As much as I enjoyed the film, it felt like it could have gone much further if it had not ended so abruptly.  The ending clearly signals the filmmakers’ intent to create a sequel to start off at that point.  While I will gladly watch a sequel, I would have liked to see the story continue a little longer before the credits rolled.  “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is a solid film that has an interesting premise and fantastic special effects.  While it could have been just another flashy action movie, it manages to deliver a story with heart.

4/5

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From → Action, Sci-fi

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