Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
The thing about Rise of the Planet of the Apes is that is not a Planet of the Apes movie. It has absolutely nothing to do with the 1968 Charlton Heston blockbuster, or the sequels - particularly escape from the Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes which purported to tell how apes rose to dominate humans. In those movies there is an ape called Caesar - son of the two who escaped on Heston’s rocket ship before he blew up the earth of the future - but he is not to be confused with the ape called Caesar in this movie.

This Caesar is the result of an experiment in a lab where scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) is trying to invent a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, mainly to save his father (John Lithgow). When Caesar’s mother is killed after a rampage that completely wrecks Will’s presentation of the cure, he is left carrying the baby - Caesar, whom he takes home and raises as a son - or rather a brother, since the ape bonds with dad and a new batch of the serum returns dad to his old self.

Of course, everything goes pear shaped, and Caesar ends up in an abusive animal sanctuary, being jabbed by handlers with cattle prods. He leads a revolt of his fellow apes, and puts paid to his abusive handler, who has the cheek to recycle Charlton Heston’s famous ‘damn dirty ape!’ line from the first movie.

The human actors are quite adequate, with John Lithgow and David Oyelowo proving somewhat more than adequate in their roles, but really, the only performance worth talking about is Andy Serkis. He is, quite simply, awesome, beaming out Caesar’s anger and aggression from behind the CGI generated ape body and face. What this man can do with a body suit and red dots is phenomenal. At times he seems to be channelling Sam Worthington in ape mode.

As a movie judged on its own merits, since it is impossible to judge as a movie in the Planet of the Apes franchise, it’s like the curate’s egg - good in parts. And those parts are all due to Andy Serkis.

I paid for this DVD with my own funds.

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