Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

By Toby Gray

Rise of the Planet of the Apes delivered, and it delivered well. A reboot of such a fantastic series is always met by skepticism, especially after the disaster that was Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes. This film, however, lies with the original Planet of the Apes in its beauty and intellect.
Starring James Franco, RPA brings the original story into a 21st century plot line that is essentially based around the cure for Alzheimer’s, rather than an action packed flick about apes taking over the world. The film is extraordinarily emotional and entertaining at the same time. Will (Franco) is a doctor dedicated to creating the cure to Alzheimer’s. He is fueled by his father (Lithgow) who is inflicted with the disease, getting worse by the day. His drug is tested on apes to make sure that it will be effective. It works spectacularly, but due to a complication, the drug is never given permission to be tested on humans. Instead, Will gets a baby chimp to bring home that has been passed on the drug by its mother, leaving him incredibly smart. Will soon realizes that Caesar (the chimp) will not stay a little baby forever. From their, the story takes off in two ways: Will’s race for a cure, and Caesar’s need to find himself.
I’ll start off with pros to this film, as there are so many, and then I will move on to the few cons that I spotted after seeing the movie two nights in a row. The film itself is very well put together. The storyline, while fairly straight forward, was emotional and made sense. It makes you feel for the characters, especially Caesar,  rather than wanting the next action sequence to begin. The film makes you wonder what you would do in the character’s situations, what action you would have taken, what you would have done differently. Everything in the movie makes you think. I cannot stress enough how this is not a mindless action movie. My next point is how brilliant Andy Serkis was in this film. He was given nowhere near enough credit for what he did in this film. Although some credit must be given to the CGI which was brilliant. Almost immediately you forget that you are looking at something computer generated. You feel as though you are looking at a real ape. Andy Serkis, who also portrayed King Kong, knows how to play a monkey and he does it flawlessly. Every move that he made was believable that an ape would do it. He was simply amazing.
That leads me quite well into my short list of cons for this movie. Technically it is only one con.  The rest of the actors were all very normal. Except for John Lithgow, I felt as though all of their performances were not at all what they could have been. They seemed tired and bored. It isn’t that they were bad, its just that they weren’t up to their best.
Altogether the movie was amazing. Its re-watch value is very high (Again, I saw it two nights in a row), and I will by a very nice blu-ray of it for sure. I would recommend this film to anyone. Even true Planet of the Apes fans who were forever scared by Tim Burton’s adaptions. This was a brilliant film and a must see for everyone.

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