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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

aka Rise of the Planet of the Apes

"Evolution Becomes Revolution."

Directed By: 
Details: 105 mins · English, Czech · PG-13 (USA)

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Monkeying Around That Pays Off

Let's get this out of the way right now; I've never seen any of the original Planet of the Apes films. I'm familiar with the ideas and concepts associated with it, but only vaguely, provided as much information as society has given me. So, when this film first came out, I wasn't necessarily dying to see it, being a prequel of a popular film, ultimately meaning that you have a pretty good idea of what the ending is before you reach it. Yet, in films, more and more often I find that the journey can be more fulfilling than the destination or goal provided. Such is the case with this work, which, while not the best, allows for an adventure with a payoff that is very satisfying... for the most part.
A young scientist, portrayed by James Franco, is trying to develop a cure for his father's case of Alzheimers, when an accident occurs, resulting in all of his research being shut down and the apes that he is testing on being youthenized. However, Franco's character can't bring himself to kill a...(more)

Let's get this out of the way right now; I've never seen any of the original Planet of the Apes films. I'm familiar with the ideas and concepts associated with it, but only vaguely, provided as much information as society has given me. So, when this film first came out, I wasn't necessarily dying to see it, being a prequel of a popular film, ultimately meaning that you have a pretty good idea of what the ending is before you reach it. Yet, in films, more and more often I find that the journey can be more fulfilling than the destination or goal provided. Such is the case with this work, which, while not the best, allows for an adventure with a payoff that is very satisfying... for the most part.
A young scientist, portrayed by James Franco, is trying to develop a cure for his father's case of Alzheimers, when an accident occurs, resulting in all of his research being shut down and the apes that he is testing on being youthenized. However, Franco's character can't bring himself to kill a baby ape, instead taking him home and raising him. Having retained the serum that had been injected into his mother, the ape, Ceaser, grows up to become incredibly intelligent, but living a fairly sheltered life. Without going further in depth into what happens, the purpose of the tale is to follow Ceaser on his rise to what he will eventually become, showing us why certain actions or decisions are made that will ultimately shape the world itself. It can be slow at times, and not always entirely engaging, but it's enjoyable enough for what it is.
Andy Serkis, famed for his previous role as the twisted Smeagol/Gollum, uses his great acting skills to show audiences a convincing representation of a growing, learning being that surpasses all expectations. Everyone else? Well, to be honest, the acting otherwise isn't all that great or special here. Franco has never been a very interesting or talented actor, in my opinion, and everyone else feels flat and lifeless. The villains are stereotypical and boring, with Tom Felton, who portrayed Draco Malfoy, being the worst of the lot, slowing down the experience. The other actors who portray chimps are great, but it's hard to appreciate them ultimately, as no other individual ape gets too much screen time, and most of their characters work off of that of Ceaser rather than being their own entities.
The ending is very satisfying and huge, with bombastic music and an epic segment that helps to drive home the struggles and emotions presented passive-aggressively up until this point. And, honestly, this is why most audiences are going to see the film; as good as the overall story is, there's a certain passion and emotion to a lot of the ending, which is a credit to the director, as there is little dialogue, not to mention we are following a band of apes. And yet, the last scene feels a little forced to make for a nice, clean ending. And, while I get why this was done here, allowing for a good end point for viewers, it doesn't feel all that nature, considering the actions of the characters before this.
While not a movie I would see again, Rise of the Planet of the Apes does its job pretty well, despite being a prequel and having a slow, drawn out start. Even if you aren't a fan of the source material, consider checking this one out. (less)

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Cast:

Small Will Rodman
Small Caesar
Small Caroline Aranha
Small Robert Franklin
Small Hunsiker
Small Alyssa Williams
Small Steven Jacobs
Small Irena
Small Maurice
No_movie_poster Rodney
Small Charles Rodman
Small John Landon
No_movie_poster Buck
No_movie_poster Donnie
No_movie_poster Roy
Small Dodge Landon
Small

Crew:

No_movie_poster Rick Jaffa Screenplay
No_movie_poster Amanda Silver Screenplay
No_movie_poster Rupert Wyatt Director
No_movie_poster Amanda Silver Production
No_movie_poster Rick Jaffa Production
No_movie_poster Peter Chernin Production
No_movie_poster Dylan Clark Production
No_movie_poster Pierre Boulle Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Mark Goldblatt Editing

Taglines:

"Evolution Becomes Revolution."

"Hail!"

"Evolution Becomes Revolution"

Plot:

Will Rodman (James Franco) a scientist at biotechnology company Gen-Sys, is testing viral-based drug "ALZ-112', on chimpanzees, to find a cure for brain ailments like Alzheimer's disease. The drug is given to a chimpanzee, Bright Eyes, greatly increasing her intelligence, but she is forced from her cage, goes on a rampage, and is killed. Will's boss Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) terminates the project and orders chimp handler Robert Franklin (Tyler Labine) to euthanize the chimps. After doing as ordered, Franklin discovers Bright Eyes had recently given birth and convinces Will to save the baby chimp's life by taking him home temporarily. Will's father Charles (John Lithgow), who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, names the chimp "Caesar." Will learns that Caesar (Andy Serkis) has inherited his mother's high intelligence and decides to raise him. Three years later, Will introduces Caesar to the redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument. Meanwhile, with Charles' condition rapidly deteriorating, Will treats him with ALZ-112 and he is restored to better than original cognitive ability.


After five more years, as an adult chimp of seven, upon seeing a dog on a leash (like his) Caesar openly question his identity - and Will tells him of his origins. Meanwhile, Charles' dementia returns as he has become resistant to the ALZ-112. Caesar witnesses a confrontation between confused Charles and neighbor Douglas Hunsiker (David Hewlett) and attacks Hunsiker. Caesar is then placed in a primate shelter where he is treated cruelly by the other chimps and the chief guard, Dodge (Tom Felton). Caesar learns how to unlock his cage, gaining free access to the common area. With the assistance of Buck - a gorilla, - he confronts the sanctuary's alpha chimp and claims that position.


Will's boss Jacobs clears development of a more powerful, gaseous version of the viral drug - now called ALZ-113 - when Will tells him it will not only heal brain disease, but will improve intelligence in anyone. Will brings the drug home to save his father, but is too late. Franklin is exposed to the new drug and becomes ill. Attempting to warn Will at his home, he sneezes blood onto Hunsiker and is later discovered dead.


Will attempts to release Caesar, but the chimp refuses to go home with him. Instead he escapes from the facility and returns to Will's house, where he takes canisters of the ALZ-113. Returning to the facility, he releases the gas; enhancing the intelligence of the other apes overnight. When Dodge attempts to get Caesar back in his cage, Caesar shocks him by speaking for the first time - yelling "No!" Caesar then electrocutes the cattle-prod wielding man by spraying him with water. The apes flee the facility, release the remaining apes from Gen-Sys, and free the apes from the San Francisco zoo.


A battle ensues as the ape army fights its way past a police blockade on the Golden Gate Bridge to escape into the Redwood forest at Muir Woods. Buck sacrifices himself to save Ceasar, jumping in the helicopter Jacobs is riding and crashing it on the bridge, but Jacobs is trapped in the helicopter, he is then killed by Koba, an ape always used on tests. As the apes find their way into the forest, Will arrives and warns Caesar that the humans will hunt them down, and begs him to return home. To Will's surprise Caesar speaks, telling him "Caesar is home." In the final scene, the apes climb to the tops of the Redwoods; in the distance is the city from which they escaped. In a post-credits scene: Hunsiker - having been infected by Franklin - arrives at San Francisco International Airport for his flight to Paris. The camera zooms into the flight-status board and, while ominous music plays, a graphic traces the spread of the humanity-killing virus to France and then around the globe via airline flight routes.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2011-08-12 : Finland

Theatrical : 2011-08-05 : Turkey

Theatrical : 2011-08-04 : Kazakhstan

Theatrical : 2011-12-01 : Netherlands

Theatrical : 2011-08-04 : Singapore

Theatrical : 2011-08-11 : Germany

Theatrical : 2011-08-04 : Thailand

Theatrical : 2011-08-05 : Lithuania

Theatrical : 2011-08-04 : Denmark

Theatrical : 2011-08-11 : Hong Kong

Theatrical : 2011-08-05 : United States of America

Theatrical : 2011-08-17 : Sweden

Theatrical : 2011-08-12 : United Kingdom

theatrical : 2011-08-05 : India

Theatrical : 2011-08-04 : Belarus

Theatrical : 2011-08-10 : France

Theatrical : 2011-09-23 : Italy

Theatrical : 2011-08-11 : Portugal

Theatrical : 2011-08-04 : Russia

Theatrical : 2011-08-18 : Hungary

Theatrical : 2011-08-05 : Canada

Theatrical : 2011-08-18 : Netherlands

DVD : 2011-12-13