Friday, August 5, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

When I was a young child, (yes, PT, I was young once. I have pictures to prove it.) I watched the original Planet of the Apes. Not all at once, mind you. Even as someone who loved movies that tended to be a tad cheesy, I couldn’t make it all the way through. I still don’t recall whether or not I’ve seen the ending. This was another film (such as Flash Gordon and Logan’s Run) that was played often on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Any time it was on I’d try to make it through. I ended up only watching bits and pieces. I just couldn’t take it. I had no such problems with Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

I went to the midnight showing (shocking, I know). I wasn’t able to come home after work and take a nap this time. I just wasn’t tired. Then. I also wasn’t feeling one hundred percent. And I very nearly decided to stay home and just catch the movie tomorrow (well, today now) afternoon. By the time I got settled in my seat at the theater I was getting kinda sleepy. I wondered before it even started whether or not I’d be able to stay awake. That wasn’t even an issue. They had me from hello.

Let’s see what IMDB has to say:

“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.”

That’s mostly true. You’ll see at the end of the movie how they kinda missed the mark. What they managed to leave out of the description above – and all the trailers I saw – was why the scientist was adamant about creating this drug. And I’m not going to tell you either.

I am completely against animal testing so I was on the side of the chimpanzees from the get go. I understand the good scientists reasoning but I still can’t condone it. How else would we test medicines if not on animals, you ask? I have no idea. I certainly don’t want to be that guinea pig, so to speak. And I kept expecting to be forced to side with the humans at some point. It never happened.

This is usually the point in which I start talking about how good the actors/characters were but they all paled in comparison to Caesar, the main ape, played by Andy Serkis. If Andy’s name doesn’t sound familiar, it should. He played Gollum in the LOTR movies. And did a very creepy job of it if I may say so. Caesar is, without a doubt, the star of this film. There was never a point in which I didn’t like him. There were times when his features appeared almost too human but since I am incapable of creating special effects on a large scale, (or at all for that matter) who am I to complain? I did like that you see how intelligent he is. All the other apes are zombies compared to him. At first.

Speaking of Special Effects…Oh.My.Goodness! This has to win some type of award. I guess if it doesn’t I can make one up for them. It’d be a golden TV tray or theater seat or something like that.

I was left with a few questions but I guess I can forgive them for that. For instance, why didn’t the guys tell anyone why Bright Eyes went ape? Tee hee. Sorry about that. Couldn’t help myself. And when the money man told the scientist that he’d get him whatever he needed to further his studies, why didn’t said scientist ask for Caesar? I know, I know. Things wouldn’t have ended the way they did. If that’s the case, though, they should have left that line out. I should totally be a film editor. I’m just sayin’.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Cursing – I’m ashamed to admit that I have no idea. I was so completely wrapped up in the movie that I didn’t notice. There were a couple parts in the climactic scene where you’d think there would have been a word or twenty but it didn’t happen. I really do think they kept it clean.

Sex/Nudity – Only the apes are naked and no one has sex. That we see or hear. Or assume.

Drinking/Drugs – We see beer but we don’t see anyone drinking it.

Violence – Yes. And lots of it. The blood is kept to a minimum, though, and it wasn’t gory.

Intense scenes – Yes again. The apes are treated poorly in the “sanctuary”. Okay, poorly is putting it nicely. They are abused. During the fight at the end several people are killed.

We know from the original films that the apes eventually take over but I didn’t really want to see that happen. And I didn’t want to see Caesar kill anyone. I didn’t want to see any of the apes kill anyone. It does happen though. Yet still I was rooting for Caesar. I even teared up a couple times as did another woman in the theater. She was about halfway up the section and I was at the very top and I could hear her crying. But I understood.

And let me just add real quick the ending I had playing in my head during the climactic scene. Will, the scientist, who still loves his friend Caesar, is determined to protect him. When the policeman in the helicopter lines up to fire at Caesar, Will jumps in front of him and is shot instead. As Will dies in Caesar's arms we see the hatred grow on Caesar's face. Instead of leaving the humans to their own devices, thus begins the war between apes and humans. Is this what happens? Again...I'm not telling.

I was going to say that I recommend this for pretty much anyone. I think Transformers was much more violent and had worse language (that I noticed). The only difference is the apes are much more believable to a young child than robots in disguise would be. I mean really. How many real robots who turn in to cars have your children seen compared to the number of chimps, orangutans, etc.? I thought so. But I believe it is a judgment call on the part of parents/guardians/relatives/whatever. Will I go see this again? Yes and yes and yes. I loved it. Maybe now I can go back and finish the original movies. Ummmm...I don't think so.

P.S. The only “extra” thing happens at the very beginning of the credits. Once the yellow lines are finished you may go home. You have my permission.

P.P.S. Does anyone besides me find it funny that the puppeteer who “played” the young Caesar goes by the name of Richard Darwin? No? Just me? Okay.

P.P.P.S. (Sorry about all the last minute thoughts) As much as I liked this movie I really hope they don't create a sequel. There's just no way to avoid the cheese factor.

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