My excitement in respect of this hit of the summer was instantly instilled from the teaser trailer. I really liked the original, despaired at the remake and completely loved the Rise of the Planet of the Apes prequel.
Despite it’s wordy title, Rise really appealed to me. I love the mechanics of prequels (however technically; I realise this is really a reworking of the series) especially this one as it featured so many references to the original that it provides scope for many films before Planet of the Apes even starts. Rupert Wyatt, the director, cleverly pops in nuggets to suggest the prospect of further stories. They spring up in newspaper articles like subliminal messages, and are subtle enough for fans to get the hint. I loved how the first movie is referenced with such fondness that it’s clear the respect Wyatt has for the original. Without giving too much away, as I find it’s nice to stumble across homages by accident, you won’t be disappointed. It’s perhaps obvious that the film includes the line: “Get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”, it was still pretty thrilling to hear though.
It’s also great to discover how the race of super apes came about. Will (James Franco), a scientist, is working on developing a drug to ease the ill effects of his father’s Alzheimer’s disease. The drug trails are tested on apes, one of which happens to be Caesar’s mother. Science is heavily featured explaining the super intelligence thrust upon him, which he then decides to subject his species to also.
Perhaps my favourite thing about Rise, aside from the casting which I’ll touch upon in a moment, is the empathy to audience feels for the apes. The human race are clearly the villains (although I sort of saw that coming, who would employee someone from Slytherin to work at an ape house?).
The star of the film here is, without a doubt, Andy Serkis. Caesar not only looks amazing, but also incredibly realistic. As the ultimate character actor, Serkis has really outdone himself here. Through acting out movement prior to the the CGI being laid on, Caesar shows real emotion and is given a heart and soul. So impressive is his role, that there’s even a twitter campaign backing Andy Serkis to get an oscar for his role as Caesar (here), which I am certainly backing. An honourable mention goes to John Lithgow for playing Will’s dad. His performance as an Alzheimer’s sufferer is heartbreaking; he is perhaps the only human in Rise of the Planet of the Apes who is wholly likeable.
Wonderful performances and awesome CGI makes Rise worthy of its summer blockbuster status. Not only is it emotive, exciting but also action packed meaning there’s something for even the pickiest of moviegoers.