“Some things are not meant to be changed.“ – Frieda Pinto as Caroline
What’s good: A great story and the animal’s expressions felt very real.
What’s not good: It may have too much CGI for some.
What happened: The debate over the use of animal testing is a contentious one. Scientists justify these methods by glorifying all that man has discovered while animal rights activists believe these tests to be unusually cruel. Regardless of your position, the world as we know ithas been enhanced largely due to this research. The sad truth is that much of this knowledge has been acquired at the expense of countless animals. ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ provides a terrifying glimpse into what can happen when scientific research goes wrong.
All Will Rodman (James Franco) wanted to do was find a cure for his father. Charles Rodman, (John Lithgow) once a talented musician, has deteriorated into a shell of himself. Will has had to watch his dad’s health slowly worsen by the day. This drove him in his desperate search to make a drug to cure his father and possibly millions like him. Right when Will finally thought he created the perfect drug, an accident at the lab sets his research back almost to the beginning. He can’t wait that long and makes a choice that would surely end his career if anyone found out. He also discovers something hidden in the lab. Will has no idea that his actions will have fatal consequences to the survival of mankind.
Caesar (Andy Serkis) is the chimp that never should have existed. He exhibits remarkable intelligence very early on. His ability to adapt and reason his way through any situation is beyond what anyone could have imagined. Caesar has been kept away from human contact with good reason. His seemingly perfect life is threatened one day when he defends a loved one. The neighborhood’s reaction proves that the world is not ready for an animal like him. Will’s girlfriend Caroline (Freida Pinto) tends to his wounds but the emotional scars remain within. Caesar is taken from his home and forced to live with his own kind. This new prison treats Caesar and the rest of the apes horribly. Dodge Landon (Tom Felton) is especially cruel to them. What happens between he and Caesar becomes the major turning point in their fight for freedom. It is up to Caesar to gather the apes and rise up against a common enemy in order to live a better life.
‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is a great movie on so many levels. It provides a poignant look from an animal’s perspective on being abused and forced into clinical trials. These scenes add to the melancholy mood of the film and also help set the stage for their ‘rise’ to power. Andy Serkis’ portrayal of Caesar was the best part of the movie. You are able to feel his every emotion from joy, to sadness, and eventual anger. His confrontation with Dodge Landon is the most powerful moment of the film. Some will be disappointed with all of the CGI used in this movie, but, at least it is better than people dressed in monkey suits like the original film. Frieda Pinto was beautiful to look at but felt like a pointless character. She should have had a more important role in this film instead of being eye candy. You don’t need to watch the original movie in order to understand this one. It actually does a very good job of setting up what’s to come in the original flick that was released in 1968.
Bottom Line: A great movie that will make you feel sad long after it has ended. It is worth the price of admission.
Rating: PG-13 Run time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
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‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’