Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cheap Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I finally saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was at the dollar show. I almost never go to see a first run film anymore. The prices have gotten outright stupid. So, I know this is old news for a lot of people, but I also know that a lot of people, like me, don’t see movies until they come out on DVD or Blu Ray. If you’re patient, you can see movies on the cheap. Used DVDs, cheap rentals, dollar shows and the like. That’s how we roll here in Money Doesn’t Grow On Treesville..

So. Back to the movie.

It was pretty good. Not a great film, but a well done film. It was entertaining and had a good energy to it, with a fairly compelling plot line. It dealt with questions of “science gone wrong,” and it was interesting because the motive of the scientist (at least the main one) is a good one, but it still produces catastrophe, partly due to the efforts of opportunistic investors and partly due to the passion of the scientist. Just this simple theme of motive not equaling out to good results is an interesting cautionary premise that has some moral weight and gives you a little something to think about when you leave the show.

The acting was good. John Lithgow is always good. But I’ve always felt like he wasn’t quite as on as he could be. Don’t know why. It’s just an impression from years of watching him in movies. But he’s a good actor. My only complaint might be James Franco, who isn’t a bad actor. He’s just not an especially expressive one. His face just doesn’t emote like some of the great actors. You spend time wondering what the guy is thinking and feeling when you know the director wants you to know. If you want an example of someone doing it right, watch Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland. He says so little with his mouth, but masterfully speaks volumes with his face and eyes.

The effects for ROTPOTA were good, but not great over all. In some set pieces they were phenomenal. In others, they seemed a bit rushed and shoddy. It was a big task that probably should have cost more time and money than it did. The main ape character, “Caesar,” has two or three basic phases in the film. He is shown as a baby chimp, as a young chimp and then as a full grown chimpanzee. Once he’s full grown, he looks pretty darn good. You can forget, for the most part, that he’s an animated piece of art. They had Andy Serkis (aka Gollum) do the motion capture acting. That was a good idea. But the earlier image incarnations are not nearly as well done as the final one. They come off plastic and stiff. I was worried about this from the trailers and they didn’t fix it. You really have to make an extra effort to suspend your disbelief for the “young” Caesar. I usually able to do that, for the most part, but it was a little tough with this one. It “pushes the bounds of credulity,” as they should say.

Anyway. Did I like it? Yes. It was fun. It was entertaining and had good pacing and acting. Was it a truly great film? No. Those have become more and more rare these days. If you like Sci Fi at all, you’ll probably enjoy this. Watch it for fun. Don't take it too seriously.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011


  1. I saw it with no expectations at all and was thoroughly entertained by it. That's my new thing: Go into movies with no expectation, good or bad and my favorite, watch a movie not knowing ANYTHING about it. That's always a good time. You get the discover the story, like your supposed before trailers and previews ruined it for us.

  2. I agree 1000%. I wish they would give us a title, an image, and tempting line or two and pull us in with a high concept. Way better movie experience. I remember seeing adds for Star Wars years ago. It was a few lines with very fast images, flying by, made you know you HAD to see this thing. Though the name, at first, wasn't very attractive. It didn't seem amazing enough. That all changed after seeing the movie. The movie defined the name after the fact. But I remember those images flashing by so fast, so impressive. Those were the days.


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