Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Directed by Rupert Wyatt

Starring Andy Serkis, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Richard Ridings


Fantastic origin story, creating a reality which magnificently spawns the larger story. Events of the subsequent films are now motivated and clear. Forcing science fiction to be grounded in reality can be difficult, but doing so can make it truly magical. We’re now wide open for some great sequels. Let’s hope they keep quality directors attached to the franchise.

The relatively inexperienced Wyatt does a pretty good job, maintaining drama and using visuals effectively throughout. One of the shots I would have done differently is when Caesar comes out of the fog on his horse. That show was made for slow-motion. The human dialogue at the lab, and the process of getting drugs tested and approved, seemed a little “dumbed down”. Would have liked to see more realism there.

Franco is adequate. Pinto is breathtakingly beautiful. I’d love to see her take on more dramatic roles to prove that she’s not just a pretty face. Lithgow, who usually annoys me, plays an Alzheimer’s patient quite well. Serkis/Caesar is pretty damn good. Did he just play Caesar, or the other apes as well? The circus orangutan is amazingly soulful.

Impressive effects. I wonder how much of Caesar’s facial expression is Serkis and how much was created by the CGI artists. Overall, the apes believable, but their motion is not quite perfect. They seem to glide a little too smoothly when in motion. Perhaps digitally recreating the “lumbering” of heavy objects in motion is difficult.

Caesar’s speech was shocking. I know the story, but still, I certainly wasn’t expecting that. He speaks a little too well, I think.

The homages to the original are nice but a little too forced and awkward at times. In particular, squeezing one in right before Caesar’s first words confuses one of the most dramatic moments of the movie.

This, and not Tim Burton’s monstrous reboot, was what the classic franchise needed.

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