Director: Rupert Wyatt
Running time: 105 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A
UK Release date: 11th August 2011
Watched at the cinema Saturday 13th August 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This must be some kind of record… It’s the third week in a row that my local cinema is showing something I want to see! It is a very rare thing, and something that should be savoured… long may it continue. But I digress, we’re here to talk about Apes. It is seldom these days that I find myself so totally engrossed in a film that time doesn’t matter. This was one of those very rare occasions. I got so involved in the story that people going in and out of the theatre (as they do) didn’t even bother me. I loved every minute of it and have no problem in recommending it to everyone. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
Will Rodman is a scientist who is working on a cure for Alzheimer’s. He is very driven in his work because his father, Charles, suffers from the disease. It affects the brain and so Will’s work revolves around a gene therapy that can re-connect pathways in the brain. They test it out on Chimpanzees and one of them, Bright Eyes, shows exceptional promise. Just as Will and his boss, Steven Jacobs, are asking for funding, Bright Eyes goes crazy and has to be shot. Jacobs orders all the apes put down, but they find that Bright Eyes had a baby. Will takes him home and discovers that the effects of the drug have been passed on. They call the baby Caesar and, with the help of a primate expert, Caroline Aranha, he eventually grows big and strong. Will gives the drug to his father and, at first, it works but then the effects wear off. He discovers what was wrong and develops a stronger version of the drug. After an incident with a neighbour, Caesar is ordered to be put in a sanctuary, away from the public. It is here that he comes into his own and it is here, under the mistreatment of his handlers, John and Dodge Landon that sparks the beginnings of The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I can’t say any more or the Spoiler Police will have me put in a cage next to Caesar.
The CGI in this film is truly stunning, although you know most of it is computer generated, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. As far as performances go, well, for me, the star was definitely Andy Serkis who did all the motion-capture work for Caesar, a really stunning performance. As far as the humans go, well, James Franco did a decent job as Will Rodman, as did Freida Pinto as Caroline Aranha, although I felt her character was never fully developed. John Lithgow was excellent as Charles Rodman and Brian Cox was suitably sleazy as John Landon. Tom Felton did a good job as the evil handler, Dodge Landon and David Oyelowo was Will’s boss, Steven Jacobs.
This is a film that will definitely be making my top ten come the end of the year. I loved every minute of it and I really hope any sequels that are made keep to the same standard. If I have one criticism, it’s that the human characters are not particularly well developed. I can forgive that to a large extent because it forces the audience to see things from Caesar’s perspective. This is certainly the best of the summer blockbusters so far this year and I can’t see anything coming up that will top it (I’m prepared to be proven wrong though). Without a doubt, this one comes very highly RECOMMENDED.
My score: 9.3/10
IMDb Score: 8.0/10 (16,160 votes when this review was written).
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83/100 (199 reviews counted when this review was written).
Official Site: http://www.apeswillrise.com/