Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

August 9, 2011

At first, I did not plan to watch "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." I actually felt that the preview trailer already pretty much tells us the whole story already. This is a movie that will give us the explanation how a race of super-intelligent apes had over-run the Earth and replaced humans as the dominant species which was the scenario in the 1968 classic film "The Planet of the Apes" (with Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall).

While I was watching, I found that yes, my fears about the trailer telling us too much were not unfounded. However, in the movie itself, we see the human back story of the Rodmans and their relationship with the mutant ape Caesar so much better. We see how the worsening dementia of his Dad (John Lithgow) drives scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) to develop a virus-based anti-Alzheimer's medication. Very interesting and intelligent. This story line covers the origin of the super-IQ and super-abilities of the apes, as well as sows the seeds of the virus that will eventually eradicate the human race. We also get to see and hear Tom Felton (sans his Slytherin robes) deliver a classic movie line in tribute to the first Apes movie.

Watching the whole film also makes us admire the talent of one Andy Serkis even more as he was able to convey the emotion of the central ape Caesar with nary a word for majority of the film. His eyes, that stare, his body language, say it all. Caesar's final moment with Will was amazing and can send chills down anyone's spine, a real screen moment. If there is justice, Andy Serkis should at least be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar even though we do not really see his real face and body on screen. Being on screen for almost the whole film, Serkis has even surpassed his acclaimed motion-capture performance as Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings" films.

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