Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Yes, it is the movie with the title I’ve made most fun of this year. Of course there wouldn’t be any other way to make it clear to the movie going audience that this is a prequel to the classic Planet of the Apes. It has been a couple of years since I last saw that, but that ending is one of those twists that deserves a spot in a list of unexpected endings. After that a couple of sequels were made (which I didn’t watch) and even Tim Burton tried his hand at a remake (which the critics really didn’t like). With that history lesson out of the way the question is whether this prequel is worth checking out. How did those “damn dirty apes” manage to take control of the planet?

Before watching this I did wonder whether or not it was possible to make this interesting to watch as you already know the end result. The answer to that is very simple, yes it is. At the start of the movie we are introduced to Caesar, a baby ape that is taken home by Will Rodman (James Franco), a scientist working at Gen Sys, who is looking for a cure for Altzheimer disease. As Caesar´s mother has received gene therapy improving brain activity he is able to do a lot more than your average ape. Of course apes grow and as they become bigger they also can get more dangerous. Through various circumstances Caesar ends up with other apes outside his home and it´s the start of something big.

Motion capture for Caesar has been done by Andy Serkis, who previously was responsible for the acting of both Gollum and King Kong and has shown he is an amazing actor. If it wasn´t for him this movie probably wouldn´t be as good as it is. He manages to inject a personality and complex feelings into this digital ape making you care for him, even though you know what will end up happening. You will be rooting for this ´bad guy´. The effects work on Caesar is great, but one of the most convincing digital characters I´ve seen in years is an orangatang. When you first see this animal you will believe it is real as it is amazing in its detail. It gets my vote for best special effects in a movie.

Knowing that these apes would be rising and knowing that these are extremely strong and vicious animals I was expecting some very violent scenes, but luckily this was not the case. The movie has a very cool setpiece towards the end and the journey to get there was awesome. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is probably my favorite summer blockbuster, which you should check out it you haven´t done so yet.

Score: 9

26 thoughts on “Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

  1. I am so glad you liked this film. As you know I am a BIG fan of this one!! I love the work by Serkis and WETA. Truly amazing.

    I still find it stunning that not a single ape was used in the film, all CGI’d.

    Motion capture, or Performance capture and Serkis likes to call it has certainly turned a corner.

    Great review my friend

    • Yeah, really great movie and I’ll probably rewatch it once it is out on DVD. Hope they have a big behind the scenes feature, would love to see how they made those apes!

      I was discussing this movie at a birthday yesterday (some friends didn’t like it), but some didn’t believe me when I said that all the apes were CGI. Serkis is the most amazing performance capture actor there is!

  2. Just have a look at that last photo. Gosh, CGI + great acting skills can be so damn good together!

    Like Scott, I’m also glad that you liked this one. I’m totally the fan of this movie. I hope it gets the Oscar for visuals.

    • Yeah, WETA really knows how to get lots of emotion out of it’s CGI characters by capturing the perfomances and mapping them correctly.

      Yeah, it should win an Oscar for the visuals, completely agree!

  3. So many positive reviews for this film and yet, sadly, I still haven’t seen it. I was hoping to put that right last week but didn’t get a chance. Maybe this is the week for it…before it disappears from cinemas! Excellent review Nostra.

  4. “He manages to inject a personality and complex feelings into this digital ape making you care for him” – that is a great way of putting it!

    I was really, really impressed by Apes. It really a great film and Andy Serkis is a terrific actor.

    • Thanks, I think the movie wouldn’t have worked if his acting wasn’t captured in such an amazing way.

      Yeah, it really was impressive. I wasn’t expecting much when I went to see it, but left amazed…

        • The ending does leave a possibility for a sequel. I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel. It probably would be a lot darker though with them slowly taking over the world and capturing all the humans…

        • The ending does leave it open for a sequel and there are talks about a possible trilogy. Even if the film wasn’t successful the end credit sequence would tie the film nicely into the original ‘Planet of the Apes’.

  5. oh another great review of the apes movie? i wish somebody would just hate on it already!

    i do want to see it. and i will. all of you make it sound so inviting. but i dont feel the urge to see it in cinemas. if its a movie that takes its charm from its subtleties in CGI acting then i can get it on DVD no trouble.

    • Maybe I should ask one of my friends to write about it as he didn’t like it at all….he texted me saying “talking apes? wtf”…don’t know what he was expecting though. He usually doesn’t like science fiction/fantasy stuff so I’m not completely surprised.

      I’m glad I saw this at the cinema as it does have some great action pieces which are nice to see on such a big screen….

  6. Glad to see this as probably your favorite summer blockbuster! I enjoyed it very much myself. I chuckled at a few parts, like the Charlton Heston tv cameo, but it was highly enjoyable!

    Nice review!

  7. I really enjoyed ‘Rise’, but the endgame seemed lackluster. That was really their ultimate goal? I also don’t think the Apes are responsible for killing the humans. I think that they could’ve co-habited the planet if it weren’t for the events in this film.

    I was very surprised at how much I ended up enjoying it in the end.

  8. Planning to watch this on the weekend, hopefully. It seems everyone’s score is 9 🙂
    Never watched the previous remakes or first planet of the apes. Do you think there would be a difference if I haven’t watch them?

  9. This is not only the best summer blockbuster this year, it is also easily in my top 10 of the year!

    I agree Andy Serkis is the best motion / performance capture actor there is, and there should be an Academy Award category just for this element – Serkis would walk away with the Oscar everytime!

    Great review.

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s going to end up in my top 10 as well.

      Completely agree about Serkis, the guy does amazing work. Looking forward to see what he does for Tin Tin.

  10. Not one of my favourites; but everyone is entitled to an opinion.

    There was nothing original in it. Franco had an I-am-getting-a-enema expression on his face. Pinto an embarrassment. Besides the apes there was nothing really exceptional about it. The much awaited rise came much too late in the film. Serkis was brilliant, I’ll give him credit for that.

    I’d give it a 6.

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