Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

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IMDb Rating
7.6 out of 10 (view IMDb page)

An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man's own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

  • Not Rated Yet
(Based on 4 Ratings)
MPAA Rating:
105 Minutes
Action, Drama, Sci, Thriller
Rupert Wyatt">
Pierre Boulle (suggested by novel "La planete des singes")
Rick Jaffa
and 1 more credit

Weekly Volcano's Review

Rev. Adam McKinney on August 3rd, 2011

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With the exception of some fleeting nods to fans of the Planet of the Apes series, very little exists to connect Rise of the Planet of the Apes with its namesake. Fans may giggle at some knowing references, but the film is otherwise a self-contained story, and should be approached as such.

Rise opens with scientist Will Rodman (James Franco who, along with the other scientists in the film, seem to be depicting the stupidest scientists since Splice) testing the effects of a drug being developed to treat Alzheimer's. Their guinea pigs are chimpanzees, and it soon becomes clear that one of the chimps' mental faculties are being greatly increased by the drug. Of course, the chimp - nicknamed Bright Eyes - freaks out and destroys the office at precisely the moment when investors arrive to decide whether to join the venture. Bad luck. As a result, all of the test chimps are put to sleep (!), and the project is shelved. Meanwhile, Will learns that the reason for Bright Eyes' hostility wasn't the drug. Rather it was the freakout, an attempt to protect her new-born infant, who soon comes into Will's possession.

The chimp is named Caesar, and Will raises it from infancy. Soon, the ape begins to show abnormal levels of intelligence, and it shares the same green eyes as its mother - the same green eyes that were shown to be a side effect of the Alzheimer's drug. Before long, Caesar is a very real part of the family, with a voice and a bedroom and all.

Let no mistake be made: Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a bizarre movie. The first half is devoted to the dynamic of a family raising a hyper-intelligent chimp as one of their own, and the problems that can be faced. It's a family film, albeit one with larger implications than normal. Will and Caesar get along famously, and only run into trouble when confronted by small-minded prigs who just don't get them, man.

The second half is devoted to the much-hinted-at uprising of the apes, which starts gradually and eventually turns the corner into full-on Crazytown. So many moments are unintentionally hilarious that I finally let my guard down and started to appreciate what a glorious, misguided mess this film is. Technology, it seems, has not evolved to the point of creating believable monkeys - or, at least, monkeys that can suggest ennui in their facial expression (although the animated orangutan is by far the best part of the movie). Also, James Franco is totally believable as a dude who's really in love with a chimpanzee. As a scientist, well ...

I suppose what I'm trying to say is I saw this in a less-than-half-full screening room, and that doesn't bode so well for the film. I suspect Rise of the Planet of the Apes will fall short of the blockbuster mark, and instead rest in its place as a strange curiosity. This is a film that never needed to exist - and certainly not in this form - but does exist, and is all the more fascinating because of it.

Reviewer's rating: Three out of four stars

User Reviews of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (4)

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Harrison Fart said on Aug. 04, 2011 at 1:22pm

Just wanted to comment on one odd omission, which connects with Mr. McKinney's review. Neither here nor in the print edition is Andy Serkis (Golllum in Lord of the Rings) listed as an actor, though he portrays Caesar throughout the entire film via motion-capture. In fact, all of the apes are motion-capture on actors, including full facial recognition. While I won't be able to see the film until at least tomorrow, that footage which has been released shows a quite impressive example of the translation of facial expression to a CGI creation.

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Rev. Adam McKinney said on Aug. 04, 2011 at 1:53pm


Sorry for the omission. You know, I wasn't aware that it was Andy Serkis. Credits list him pretty low, so I must have just missed it. A fine actor, that guy.


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low bar said on Aug. 05, 2011 at 10:19pm

total flop. franco is about to feel the backlash of getting too shiny in the biz.

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low bar said on Aug. 05, 2011 at 10:22pm

actually, let me take that back. this might actually be a comedy no one gets, franco living out a dream to fuck a, albeit cgi, chimp for millions of dollars. the man is a subtle comedic genius.

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