Many thought Tim Burton’s remake of the Charlton Heston original was a flop, (though I thought it was pretty decent as a film in it self and not to be compared with the original) we now have another Ape flick which is treated as the prequel to the original 1968 classic, Planet of The Apes.
The best thing about this movie is that it goes way back to the foundation of where it all began, right here on earth. Humans are still roaming around and animals are still, animals. Set in San Francisco (the US as always) in the somewhat near future, geneticist Will Rodman (James Franco) is on the verge of creating a miracle with his brain serum, ready to try and cure Alzheimer’s disease, that is evidently tested on primates through the drug-research corp. His father Charles (John Lithgow) suffers from dementia, which is why Will is determined to find everyway possible to make the cure work. After finding a baby chimp at the lab, Will sneaks it home otherwise it risks getting put down. Naming the chimp Caesar, his mother was one of the primates captured in the jungle and brought to the lab to be experimented on. Not realising this, Will discovers that Caesar isn’t a normal chimp, as he grows, the more intelligent he becomes. He then feeds his experimental cure to both Caesar and his father. This is the main base of the story.
The motion capture technology used by Andy Serkis (the same as in the 2005 remake of King Kong) is truly superb. Forget about costumes, this is the way to go. Caesar’s movements and mannerisms are breathtaking and allow us to keep a wide eyed grin at the cute creature as a baby, growing into what seems to be a man… talk about evolution.
The film is really all about Caesar, who captures the interest as nothing else really matters, until he gets locked up because of his chimp ways, protecting his human adopted grandfather. This is where all the action begins when Caesar is thrown into a pool of unwanted apes. Literally using his brain, Caesar sees the realisation of his situation and hierarchy and makes the most of it by becoming the Godfather/The Last Don of the pack, with the recruitment of his fellow apes, including one huge gorilla.
As mentioned before, the best thing about the film is its foundation. It doesn’t rush the story and get straight into the whole apes taking over the world etc as we all know it will happen eventually. It doesn’t drag out the story either. This Planet of The Apes shows us exactly how the first ape came about and his progression. It’s all about progress. Paying close attention to the story, the last scene at the airport clarifies exactly how the apes took over the planet. This is why a sequel should be considered. This should be the take over by the apes, the Charlton Heston way.
There is a lot of emotion circulating with Will’s father and with Caesar, something that plays quite a great deal with the ape franchise. It’s a very enjoyable film, with a huge amount of expression and suspense. I’m still not that satisfied with the title though, “The Rise of The Planet of The Apes” is quite a mouthful.
One of the best films of 2011 so far for sure.