First things first: this movie creeped the bejesus out of me. Rise of the Plane of the Apes was a big bag of unpleasent emotions. I was sad for the poor monkeys, then afraid that the apes (those rising in the title) would take over the world and we’d all die. Not a nice mix, personally. And despite my unpleasantness towards this movie, it still managed to take the weekend box office with $54 million
Now I wouldn’t say that this movie is redefining a genre. Even if you haven’t seen any of the other planet of the apes movies (of which there have been several), you get the gist: apes get smart and try to take over the world. In this movie specifically, the apes are an oppressed people, who get smart and rise up against their captors and tormentors, with the role of prominent tormentor going to an American accent wielding Draco Malfoy, or Tom Felton for you name sticklers.
But the animal lover in me was borderline depressed; the main monkey, Caesar, is adorable when he’s a little tiny monkey! When he’s a big ape who has to secretly live in James Franco’s attic, you feel sad for him. And when he’s an ape with a mean, cynical streak, you’re afraid of the damage he’ll do.
James Franco wasn’t terribly convincing; I like him better as a stoner on the run in Pineapple Express, personally. The thing with his character here is you don’t really know what his angle is. He’s a genecist trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, which, coincidentally, his father (played my John Lithgow) is suffering from. After an experiment gone wrong shuts down his research, he ends up with poor tiny Caesar, who has been exposed to the test drugs in utero. Caesar lives with Franco and JLith, and all is good–for a while. Then ish gets bad, someone finally realizes there’s a monkey living in Franco’s attic, and Caesar ends up with his motley crew of apes. You can guess what happens next: they try their hand at rising.
An obvious lesson one walks away from RotPofA with is this: maybe we shouldn’t mess around with genetics of apes/monkeys who might get really smart and take over the world, killing or imprisioning us along the way. Just a thought.
Is RotPotA the best movie you’ll ever see? That’d be a no. Is it terrible? Not exactly. It’s a pretty decent reboot, if you can get over the sad/scary parts. It’s also a solid action movie too. I don’t think James Franco will be getting another Oscar no for this, but I suppose stranger things have happened.
Have you seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes? What’d you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments!