I saw, Rise of the Planets of the Apes, in the Theatres when it came out, Loved it, and recently re-watched this on Netflix with a friend. I love sharing good Science Fiction. Although Hollywood’s rehashing has become very tiresome, and border-line criminal. I feel this is one of the exceptions where we are given something that a lot of love and passion went into. I really hope the same minds behind this follow up soon with a sequel.
At its heart, Rise of the Planets of the Apes, is about family and community, and the circumstances that force it to change into something new. Our main monkey, Caesar, has two families, the apes, and his adopted human family, which he is brought home to in secret, rather than being put down. A drug meant to repair brain damage is tested on his pregnant mother, and the benefits are unknowingly passed onto him.
James Franco, the unexpected father/scientist, torn with what Caesar is, something completely new but still a wild animal, and what he is becoming, an ape with the capability to process and learn information that rivals that of a human. John Lithgow is Franco’s father, and is suffering from Alzheimer’s, the driving force behind Franco’s motivations. Both do an excellent job. Loved Lithgow in Third Rock from the Sun, and Freaks and Geeks, with Franco, as the cool outsider, are two of my all-time favorite TV shows. Great choices.
There are other people to help drive the plot. The guy in charge of the Biotech Company. The jerks running the apes sanctuary, and Franco’s girlfriend, what’s-her-name. But make no mistake. The stars of this film are the apes.
They look good too. They’re CGI, but at no point does it pull you out of the story. All the main guys are different kinds of apes, and all have their own personalities and purpose in the film.
Caesar is our main Ape. Following him from birth all the way to Rebel Ape leader. The orangutan, Maurice, is a great second in command. The grizzled ape, Koba, whose been around the monkey-testing-circuit a few too many times, is an excellent wild-card. The thug, Rocket, loses his power over the rest of the sanctuary apes when it’s clear that Caesar means business. The muscle, Buck, pledges his allegiance to Caesar after he is freed by him.
You will root for these animals. I was on the edge of my seat watching these apes come out of their cages, after being given the miracle drug by Cesar. The film climaxes in this crazy fight on the Golden Gate Bridge between the Apes and the SFPD! So Crazy! So Cool! Watch This Now!