Monday, 5 September 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I enjoyed an evening out to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes - have to see one "big" kind of film in the summer, and this was the right kind of fun for that. As we've said before, it helps when one has few expectations (don't expect much in terms of characters or depth, please). I'd have to say that the apes were pretty impressive, and the way the movie sets up the starting place for the old classic worked quite well (if not entirely new and creative). Unfortunately, the acting was not a great boost to the movie, and somewhere along the way - whether the fault of the writer, director or editor - there were quite a few sudden shifts in characters and direction that really didn't work at all. James Franco makes at least two sudden shifts that are simply unreal or undeveloped. The evil research centre boss makes a sudden change that is incredibly poorly "sold." The potentially helpful role played by Freida Pinto was left shallow and one wonders where her early passion went. Really, I shouldn't have written this at all because the more I write, the more I realise that the characters were all really badly portrayed. I'm not sure I ended up liking anyone but the main chimp. Maybe that's the point - it's certainly a misanthropic film.

Vic, there is nothing to impress you at all in their take on redemptive violence. Obviously the chimps have some natural aggression when threatened, but nothing like the aggression of the humans. Yet, overall the film simply has nothing new to say about that theme.

What it does say - like Limitless to which it bears some distinct resemblance - is that we are probably already long past the point where our morality and wisdom can keep up with our scientific creativity. That warning, familiar as it is, is the most realistic part of the movie. For that and some light summer sun, I'll give it ***

1 comment:

  1. I finally saw this film and have absolutely no argument with your review. I would also give it ***, but only because I enjoyed the first half of the film so much more than the second half. I appreciated the way Caesar somehow decided (perhaps when he bit off the neighbour's finger and tasted blood) that lethal violence was wrong. But that theme with its accompanying suggestion that apes are more human than humans, was utterly destroyed by the horrible ending, which included a ridiculous scene in which Jacobs is kept alive just so that the ape can have his revenge. I knew the instant the helicopter started to go down that this exact scene would play out because there is not so much as a hint of imagination in Hollywood regarding how such films should end. I was absolutely disgusted and almost gave the film a mug down for that one scene alone.

    The other thing that bothered me was what happened to Franklin. I assume he died from using the 113 but nothing really gets explained there.

    All in all, I was disappointed in spite of my low expectations, which is very sad.