Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) ***½

PG-13, 105 min.
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Writers: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Pierre Boulle (novel “La planéte des singes”)
Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, David Oyelowo, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, Tyler Labine, Jamie Harris

When I initially saw “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” in theaters, I was going through some bumpy stuff. I think I undervalued what I was seeing. I registered the cleverness in how Rupert Wyatt and his screenwriters were setting up the history of the “Planet of the Apes” story from Pierre Boulle’s science fiction classic, but I took points away for the action sequences that close out the movie. I liked how they tied the evolution of the apes to our own search for a cure for Alzheimer’s. I liked how the plague that was created from the drug also explains how humans could’ve diminished to the point where they were forgotten in the ape history books as a species of equal intelligence.

The battle on the Golden Gate bugged me at the time, though. In my second screening of it, that action sequence didn’t bother me as much. I initially felt it was gratuitous and only included because some producer felt you couldn’t make a sci-fi flick without some action. This time it seemed more necessary to advance the story to a point where it could conclude.

With such a good set up for the series that has already come before it, I wonder how well the upcoming “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” will stack up. While there certainly will still be some history to show before the story advances to the point of the original story of “The Planet of the Apes”, I wonder how necessary it will be. This movie furthered the original’s mythology, I’m not sure a sequel prequel will have much more to add.

Read my original review here.

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