My take on Rise of the Planet of the Apes
My Significant Other (SO) and I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes today.
We approach this very differently.
I’m a fan of the original movies. How much of a fan? I once saw all five movies in a theatre…in one day…in an ape suit. I’ve watched the live-action TV series, and the animated TV series. I even started to write an episode for the live-action series.
My SO? Never seen one of the movies…not even the first one.
Here’s the good thing about the new movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes: we both liked it. 🙂
If you are a fan like I am, you’ll notice a lot of nods to the old movies…but amazingly, they didn’t stand out to my SO. When someone says a classic line (in a possibly different context), it still belongs in the scene.
I’m very careful about spoilers, but I can mention a thing or two that doesn’t hurt. For example, an orangutan is called Maurice. That’s a reference to Maurice Evans, who played Dr. Zaius (an orangutan) in the original movie. Another ape is named “Cornelia”, but someone first calls her “Cornelius”…a reference to the character played by Roddy McDowell in the first movie (and he returned to the role later).
So, you don’t have to be a fan or a non-fan to enjoy Rise of the Planet o the Apes.
The acting is solid. I didn’t think James Franco (who I often think is amazing) brought anything special to this. Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies) really impressed me. His American accent was impeccable, and my SO didn’t even recognize him. David Hewlett from Stargate SG-1 has a nice character part, and Brian Cox brings his typical strength.
Andy Serkis (Gollum in the Lord of the Ring movies) has a great performance as Caesar, who is arguably the main character. We do see his performance…there is a lot of misunderstanding about motion capture. I’ve heard Andy Serkis interviewed on NPR, and the interviewer asked Serkis about motion capture performances being nominated for Oscars. His response was good, and reasonable. The director cuts the movie with the actor’s performance: just like the director would do with any performance. The effects that transform the character are added afterwards.
We never see an actor’s performance the way it was done…there is always editing, for example. Why should motion capture be any different?
The movie was moving and exciting. It was the best geeky movie we’ve seen this summer: better than Thor, Pirates, Green Lantern, and Captain America. My SO said Bridesmaids is still up there. 🙂
I think this is going to be a big weekend. RotPotA (great initialism!) should do quite well, The Change-Up will do okay, Harry Potter, Smurfs, and Captain America will keep doing business.
Have you seen Rise? Without spoilers, what did you think?
I did want to mention that this movie, while outside of the storyline of the original movies, has a reasonable way for the apes to have become more intelligent. That was always a weakness to me in the first movie…there wasn’t enough time for that type of evolution. In this movie, it’s due to human experimentation, and that makes more sense. In a significant plot point, one o the experimental chimps is pregnant…and the staff doesn’t know. That seems unlikely to me, although possible. One would also assume the ape would have been necropsied…and the recent delivery would have been apparent then, if not recognized for its significance. Not a big deal, though.
Some references to the original movies:
- Caesar is the self-chosen name of the chimp leader of the rebellion in the third, fourth, and fifth movies
- In Rise, we hear news stories about the loss of the Icarus probe. While that isn’t the official name in the first movie, it’s become an accepted reference to the space craft that brings Charlton Heston’s character to the Planet of the Apes
- Tom Felton’s character says the classic lines, “Take your hands off me, you damned dirty ape” and “It’s a madhouse!”
- As mentioned above, Maurice is used as the name of an orangutan, in reference to Maurice Evans. The orangutan signs that it is from a circus: a circus is key in the original chronology
- The first scene in Rise is similar to a scene in the original movie…with the roles of apes and humans reversed
- The use of firehoses and a “cattle-prod” like device occur in both the original movies and Rise
- A gorilla wants to be violent towards a human and a chimp disagrees: that matches the original movies, where the gorillas were warriors, the chimps were scientists, and the orangutans were administrators
- Caesar’s mother in Rise is called “Bright Eyes”…as was Charlton Heston’s character in the original movie
- The action takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area in Rise…which is also the case in the last of the original Planet of the Apes movies
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.