Dread Central’s First Look at The Rise of the Planet of the Apes
For those of you who are fans of the original Planet of the Apes film franchise, it was back in 2001 that we first got teased with the idea of rebooting the property with director Tim Burton’s epic fail of a relaunch, Planet of the Apes.
So you can imagine the amount of suspicion many of us have had since we got word that 20th Century Fox was planning another relaunch for the series with the upcoming Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which hits theaters tomorrow.
Being a fan myself of the original film series (and even the live-action television show), I went into Rise with a bit of trepidation. But now that I’ve seen the film for myself, I feel confident in saying that Apes fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief because director Rupert Wyatt has confidently delivered an action-packed horror/sci-fi adventure that not only feels completely original but still manages to work in some clever homages to the earlier films, making it accessible for both fans and newcomers alike.
The story in Rise follows Caesar (Andy Serkis), a chimpanzee born in a lab and raised by Will, a struggling scientist (James Franco) looking to create a cure for Alzheimer’s, a cause that hits him close to him since his father, Charles (John Lithgow), is afflicted by the disease. It doesn’t take long for Will to realize that his baby chimp is a remarkable creature who has been given the gift of intelligence through genetically altered genes passed down from his mother, “Bright Eyes.”
But when Caesar is sent to an animal welfare shelter by the courts after displaying an act of aggression toward a neighbor threatening the welfare of Charles, Caesar finally discovers his own kind, and he’s none too happy to see how his fellow primates are being treated- they’ve been abandoned, neglected and forgotten. Caesar ultimately rejects his human family in an effort to free his primate brethren from their human bondage, and what happens from there is nothing short of a spectacular feast for both the eyes as well as the heart.
Not only has director Wyatt finally delivered the movie that Apes fans have been waiting to see for so many years, but through the partnership with WETA, the film features some of the most awe-inspiring motion capture performances to date. Avatar, Schmavatar- Rise is truly the best use of motion capture technology I’ve seen since Serkis’ work as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the actor manages to steal the movie away from all of the human characters, but for very good reason. After all, this is Caesar’s story so Serkis’ performance as the revolutionary primate has to be the driving force in the film. Serkis manages to pull off the performance impeccably, creating a captivating performance as Caesar throughout Rise that will no doubt leave audiences in awe once the credits start rolling.
For lifelong fans or newbies alike, there is much to enjoy about Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and I hope that this film finds the audience it deserves because I’d love to see where 20th Century Fox takes the franchise from here. And if you do go and see Rise of the Planet of the Apes for yourself this weekend, make sure to stay after the credits for a bonus scene, too.
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