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.