Monday, 8 August 2011

Film Review: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (2011).




The film’s tagline "Evolution Becomes Revolution" sums up the premise of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This science fiction film directed by Rupert Wyatt and written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. It is a reboot of the Planet of the Apes series. A substance, designed to help the brain repair itself, gives rise to a super-intelligent chimp who leads an ape uprising.

In 2006, screenwriter-producer Rick Jaffa was searching for a script idea. As Jaffa searched a newspaper articles clipping, one about pet chimpanzees that become troublesome to their owners and heartbroken for not adapting well to the human environment intrigued him. As Jaffa eventually realized it fit the Planet of the Apes series, he called his wife and screenwriting partner Amanda Silver to express his ideas of such a chimpanzee eventually starting the ape revolution, and then the couple started developing the character of Caesar. Jaffa and Silver then wrote a script and sold it to Fox. The script added other elements which the couple had researched, such as genetic engineering. Several tributes to specific scenes, characters, and cast and crew from the previous Apes film series were added in the script. In a 2009 interview, Wyatt said, "We've incorporated elements from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, in terms of how the apes begin to revolt, but this is primarily a prequel to the 1968 film...Caesar is a revolutionary figure who will be talked about by his fellow apes for centuries...This is just the first step in the evolution of the apes, and there's a lot more stories to tell after this. I imagine the next film will be about the all-out war between the apes and humans." Filming began in July 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Filming also happened in San Francisco, California and around Oahu, Hawaii. As the animals in film were meant to be actual apes instead of the anthropomorphic simians of the original franchise, the producers decided not to use actors in make-up or animal suits. After considering real apes, instead Weta Digital created the apes digitally in almost every case through performance capture. 

The film stars James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton and Andy Serkis. The cast gave amazing performances. But the true praise goes to its unlikely star – Caesar, played by Andy Serkis. He gave an amazing performance that genuinely allowed the audience to see the whole movie through his eyes and understand where he comes from and what are his motivations. He made this movie, without him there would be no movie. Full stop.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes summons up moments of great eloquence and power. It's not just the birth of Caesar we're seeing in this triumphant interpretation, it's also the dawning of the beginning of humanity’s end. Here's how any great franchise should start: with care, precision and delicately wrought atmosphere. It's a refreshing approach to the genre, even when revisiting years later, in an era inundated with science fiction movies where each tries to better the last's visual effects budget.

Simon says Rise of the Planet of the Apes receives:


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