UK Release date: 11th August 2011
Watched on DVD Wednesday 29th August 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I was totally engrossed by this one when I saw it in the cinema about a year ago. How did it fair this time? Well, maybe not quite the same impact, my TV screen can’t quite match the big one for scale, but it still packs a big punch. I still 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 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, and 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 the vast majority of 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 and consequently she was woefully underused. John Lithgow was excellent as Will’s father, Charles 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.
I loved every minute of this film 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. There are plenty of references and nods to the original 1968 film starring Charlton Heston (something to look out for). Certainly one of my favourite films of 2011 and I see nothing here to change my view. I have given it a slightly lower score than after my first viewing, mainly because the film does loose a little of its impact when scaled down for the small screen. Even so, well worth a look for any fan of the ‘Apes’ films and even those that haven’t seen them.
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
My score: 8.8/10
IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 176,850 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 68/100: (Based on 39 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 87/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 85,827 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
Robert Franklin: [administering chimp intelligence test] Okay, okay. Here you go. And let's go again.
[gives Bright Eyes treat and clocks timer]
Will Rodman: Which one's this? Number nine?
Robert Franklin: Yeah, this is number nine. Bright Eyes, we call her. Are you watching this? This is unbelievable.
[Bright Eyes does the tower fast]
Robert Franklin: Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
Bright Eyes: [grabs treat and eats it]
Will Rodman: How many moves was that?
Robert Franklin: 20.
[Will looks at them and starts to head out]
Robert Franklin: Yeah, a perfect score is 15. Doc, what are you giving her?
Will Rodman: [heads out] Hey, give that video!
[runs out the hallway and opens the door to Steven Jacobs' office]
Will Rodman: Why don't we begin? Meet Chimp Nine. We gave him a gene therapy that allows the brain to create it own cells in order to repair itself. We call it the Cure to Alzheimer's.
Party Boy: [at Caesar's cage] Hey, check out this guy.
Dodge Landon: Hey that one's a pain in the ass, man! He thinks he's special or something.
Party Boy: Freaky. Come here. Come on. It's like he's thinking or something.
Caesar: [grabs the man's throat and stares and growls]
Party Girl #2: Oh, my God! He has his throat!
Party Girl #1: Let him go!
Dodge Landon: [Dodge runs towards Caesar] Let go!
Caesar: [grunts and releases the man and leans towards Rocket's cage]
Rocket: [he jumps up, he growls and jumps down]
Dodge Landon: I told you not to get too close man.
Maurice: [to Caesar in sign language] Why coockie Rocket?
Caesar: [to Maurice in sign language and breaking and bundling sticks] Ape alone... weak. Apes together strong.
Maurice: [to Caesar in sign language as they observe chimps beating each other and stop] Apes stupid.
Linda: Mr. Jacobs, it's Linda from Will's team. Something horrible has happened. Franklin is dead - from a viral infection.
Steven Jacobs: What the hell are you talking about?
Linda: He was exposed to the 113. It does something to people that it doesn't do to apes.