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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (DVD + Digital Copy)

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: Rupert Wyatt / Actors: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, Brian Cox, Tom Felton ... / DVD released 2011-12-12 at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL

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      17.01.2012 22:39
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      Visually stunning, interesting contraversial issues dealt with, truly excellent

      Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a 2011 science fiction film that entirely reboots the Planet of the Apes series and puts a brand new spin on it.

      Having watched previous Planet of the Apes films, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Rise of the Planet of the Apes. They'd experimented previously with futuristics planets far away from earth inhabited accidentally by humans, and rebellions amongst apes, but this was something different. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar (Andy Serkis), a hyper-intelligent ape who inherited his high intelligence from his lab experiment mother, is adopted by Will, (James Franco) and lives at home with Will and his father who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Desperate to help his father and lessen the effects of the disease, Will experiments with a number of new drugs said to help in the regrowth of the brain. The concepts within Rise of the Planet of the Apes are modern issues that are somewhat controversial but still very relevant which made the film much more genuine.

      Despite not usually being very soppy at films, or becoming to involved with the characters, the success in the visual display of Caesar and the emotions he is able to convey had me greatly invested and I intensely sympathised with his as he endured suffering in his entrapped state. I began to cheer on the Apes, willing them for success and despite it possibly harming humans, I no longer cared, as Caesar became a real entity with a personality to suit, he wasn't simply just a "damn dirty Ape".

      The film is careful not to become too over dramatic and doesn't jump right into action scenes. The result of this is a very meaningful and an excellent performance from Andy Serkis which leaves intact the rawness of the film.

      This is definitely a film worth watching, a new favourite of mine. Despite being heavily involved in the use of special effects, they do not overshadow the acting and the story within, which makes it an excellent success in my opinion. I loved this film and was truly mesmerised by how far animation has come in creating a realistic animal, and how far directing has come in portraying that animal as near-human.

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      04.01.2012 12:45
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      A great film

      About the film
      Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a 2011 science fiction drama film. Rated 12A due to scenes of action and violence, the film has a run time of 105 minutes. It was released at the cinema on 11th August and the DVD was released on 12th December. It is not a remake of any of the original films although there are similarities in storyline.

      Plot
      Will Rodman is a scientist who works for a company that specialises in gene therapy and the research behind it. His own father has Alzheimer's disease and Will is desperate to find a cure. With each day that passes and his father's condition gets worse, Will is more obsessed with finding his cure. The only thing that can save his father. The only way to find said cure is to experiment on chimps, them being the next closest thing to experiementing on humans. Just when he thinks he has the answer, the female chimp currently being tested on goes wild and needs to be shot and killed. The chimp in question gave birth a few days prior and was only trying to protect her newborn. With an order being given on killing the remaining chimps, Will takes home the baby chimp, looking after him himself.

      It turns out that the drugs given to the mother chimp altered what baby chimp 'Caesar' can do. Caesar has higher intelligence than he should do and can do the things that a child can do... and more. Caesar can talk using sign language. As Caesar grows older, he gets more and more intelligent, showing Will other ideas about a cure. Administering a new drug to his own father, Will can see that it actually works. His father's condition improves. Unfortunately, all is not good. Being able to think and act on his thoughts means Caesar gets himself into big trouble, taking him away from Will and safety. Caesar is put into care with other primates and soon realises that he isn't what he should be...

      Cast
      James Franco as Dr. William "Will" Rodman
      Andy Serkis as Caesar
      John Lithgow as Charles Rodman
      Freida Pinto as Caroline Aranha
      David Oyelowo as Steven Jacobs
      Brian Cox as John Landon
      Tom Felton as Dodge Landon
      Chelah Horsdal as Irena
      Tyler Labine as Robert Franklin
      David Hewlett as Hunsiker
      Jamie Harris as Rodney

      What I thought
      As soon as I saw the trailer for this film months ago, I was dying to see it. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to seeing it at the cinema. Luckily, my uncle bought me a copy for Christmas and it was near enough the first thing I did to watch it after Christmas Day.

      The story of the film takes quite some getting to. There is a big lead up at the beginning of the film concerning Will and his father and the experiments used to try to cure the disease. Although Caesar joins Will very early on, there are many scenes showing exactly what Caesar is capable and how much he is unlike other chimps. Due to this, the real point of the film doesn't quite make it's impact until over half way through. Up until things begin to get really exciting, the film is all about a man bringing up a chimp like he would a child. I wished there had been more excitement or that these scenes had been cut a little short.

      What I wasn't expecting from this film was for it to make me cry... multiple times. In fact, I cried so much when I first started watching it that I had to turn it off and carry on watching the next day. I started crying again after about two seconds. I was fully expecting this to be one big action film, with loads of crazy stunts (and there are) but I wasn't prepared for anything else really. I loved how much feeling was put into the story and the characters, especially the primates, and how easy it was to empathise and sympathise with them. I think if the film had been slightly marketed more with this in mind, instead of it being all about the action, it could have attracted a much wider audience.

      Once the story began to change and it got to where it should have been earlier, I loved it completely. Caesar joins fellow primates in a 'care' facility but there is where things begin to get a little hard to watch. The mistreatment of the primates was devastating to me and I just didn't want to watch any more because of it, hence me turning it off at one point. These scenes were done in a way so that you obviously know none of it is real (because no real primates are used) but you can see how bad some conditions can be.

      The acting is pretty damn good throughout but Andy Serkis is one of the most talented men I have ever seen on screen. Being known for playing Golum in The Lord of the Rings, he knows his way around a green screen and acting like something that isn't real. I think Serkis really excelled himself at playing Caesar and without obviously knowing he wasn't real, I could have never guessed otherwise. Serkis makes us believe that Caesar is real and that he really can sign and do puzzles and all of the other things he is capable of. The facial expressions and body movements were phenomenal and I have no idea how he does what he does.

      As the lead, James Franco plays Will really well. Although he is a scientist experimenting on animals, I couldn't hate him. The fact that he was doing so for a very specific reason made him likeable and I wanted him to find a cure. He had great chemistry with Caesar, showing that they were best friends and that he really did care for him, no matter the circumstances that brought them together. On the other side of Franco is Freida Pinto playing love interest Caroline. I can't say I liked her though. Her performance was flat and boring and I couldn't believe for one second that she even liked Will. I wish someone else had been cast.

      This is a film that is also visually stunning. Some of the scenery is spectacular, especially the woods and trees. Seeing masses of green land and places for Caesar to run, hide and play warmed my heart a little. There are scenes with the primates trying to take over the city so you get a really good view of what they can do and how fast they move. I love seeing them in different areas, with Caesar being clever enough to figure out how to use these locations to his advantage.

      Overall, I could not have loved this film much more. Yes, it does have a few minor points to it but I can overlook that on the basis that the rest of the film is so damn good.

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        30.12.2011 05:08
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        Well worth watching

        *Introduction*
        Me and my boyfriend watched this film a couple of days ago, and I thought i'd share my views on it. I was pressured into watching this by Marc (my boyfriend), who kept insisting it would be a brilliant film and worth watching. I did enjoy it much more than I imagined, although I think Marc was a bit dissapointed as he was expecting a much more action filled, gory film. What we got instead was a bit more like a chimp version of Marley and Me with a bit of tension and fighting thrown in at around an hour into the film. There were brief scenes of action upto this point but not many, to be frank. These small glimpses of action did build up the tension though and keep me hooked, however every time the 'cute' scenes came on, Marc would sit there asking to fast forward it to the fight scenes.

        *What's it About?*
        This film is about a scientist, Will Rodman (James Franco) who is on a mission to develop a cure for alzheimer's disease. We soon learn that Will's dad actually suffers from the disease, which I think gives the story much more depth then it would have without this subplot. In order to develop a cure, Will and the other scientists have been testing various 'gene therapy' drugs on twelve lab chimps, which basically alters their brain and makes the chimps much more human like and extremely intelligent. The scientists soon get the results they wanted as one of the female chimps starts showing signs of high, human like intelligence soon after being injected with the drug.

        The chimp (chimpanzee number nine) starts showing signs of agression a few hours after being given the drug and escapes from her cage, she's soon shot dead and the other lab chimps are put to sleep as the scientists believe the drug causes agressive side effects, however upon inspection of chimpanzee number nine's cage, a baby ape is found, explaining chimp number 9's agression - she was just trying to protect her baby. Will tells the chimp handler, Robert, to kill it after telling him that the chimp is 'company property' which he refuses to do and instead tells Will to do it, which he can't. The chimp handler persuades Will to smuggle the chimp out of the labs, which he does.

        We are then introduced to Will's dad and learn that he has Alzheimer's disease, which is where the story starts slotting together and we start to understand Will's sheer determination to find a cure. Will's father names the baby chimp Caesar, and both men soon notice that Caesar is incredibly clever - at just one day old he is able to feed himself and recognise food and his surroundings. We soon learn that this is because he inherited his mother's intelligence (from the drugs). For around an hour of the film we start to learn about Caesar's character and we watch him grow. At around half an hour into the film it fast forwards to when he is three years old and it shows him as a mischevious, happy and extraordinarily clever young chimp who spends hours watching the neighborhood children out of his window. This leads him into some problems, but I won't spoil it for you. During this part of the film, Will meets his girlfriend, a zoo vet, who he meets after taking Caesar to her.

        The film then fast forwards another five years to a now huge, scary looking 8 year old Caesar who is developing signs of agression and depression, this is where the film really starts getting going and we go through a journey of heart break with him as he is seperated from everything he ever knew, and his intelligence continues to grow. The film from this point is fast paced and very entertaining, some parts are quite disturbing and the zoo keeper storyline really made me angry, however I love how he gets his comeupance!!

        *My Opinion*
        As I said above, this film didn't really appeal to me when I saw the advert, but I was persuaded to watch it and ended up enjoying it. If I had only seen the advert, and not the film, I would of said to avoid this if you are slightly sensetive or can not stomach watching animals suffer or be treat cruelly, however I think the film managed the situation of the lab apes and the mistreatment of them well, and it didn't feel uncomfortable to watch apart from a couple of scenes which weren't too bad and weren't gory or graphic, they just made me feel sad for the main character, Caesar the chimp and his primate friends. So, what i'm trying to say is, this isn't as bad as I thought it would be cruelty wise, I was very concerned I would be seeing animal abuse (albeit not real, but still disturbing), however as I said before this matter was dealt with reasonably subtly, I think the cruelest thing was the scene with the hose pipe, and obviously the scene in which various chimps were shot dead was quite upsetting too although not too graphic.

        This film is definetly marketed as an action/thriller film, which to be honest it isn't. Well, about 30% is, but the other 70% tells the story of a mans battle to keep his father alive and healthy, a story of an intelligent ape growing up and then getting to the point of being agressive and being sent to an enclosure where the owners are abusive. The action didn't get going until around an hour into the film, it was worth the wait so I would still reccomend it to fans of action/sci fi/thriller films, however it is very slow paced.. at points it seemed almost like a comedy, and at other points I found myself feeling pretty bored, such as the scenes with Will and his dad. I know that these scenes were there for the purpose of giving the story more depth and giving the viewer clarification of why Will wanted to develope the medicine, however I feel the scenes were very slightly over done and as a result I felt like fast forwarding to the action part! The father character was not (in my opinion) very easy to connect with or take a liking to, and I found the whole "I'm cured from Alzheimer's!" part of the film quite bizzare if i'm honest, however it's a sci fi film at the end of the day so I can't complain too much.

        I also found the whole talking chimp extremely unnecessary. I was quite content with Ceaser's sign language and although when he spoke it was a huge shock and a huge relief (because of the situation he was in), I do not think this was necessary and I found the film to be more touching and believable when Ceaser's only means of communication was sign language. Weirdly enough, when Ceaser was talking an image of Michael Jackson's pet chimp Bubbles popped into my head as I remember reading a while ago that he wanted to pay for an operation to make it possible for the ape to talk, which despite all the money in the world would not be possible which is probably why I didn't like the talking bit of the film. I also found the virus scenes unnecessary and random, I don't see what that really had to do with the fact that the drugs made the chimps clever, and I wasn't really bothered when the man who caught the virus dies (I won't say who!) as he wasn't really a main character or anything and I found it quite random like it had been thrown in there for a bit of gore or something (he was coughing up blood).

        *Visual Effects*
        This film is heavily CGI'd. Obviously no real chimps are in this movie which is easy to forget at times as the CGI is so good and the chimps are so life like. However.. I did notice that at points in the film the CGI was a bit 'off'.. at some points the chimps looked extremely real, and at others they looked quite obviously CGI'd - especially the scenes of baby Ceaser, however I think this was possibly deliberate to avoid the film makers being accused of using real apes, prehaps. The visuals in this film are stunning. There's so much stunning scenery (woods, lakes etc) and the colours are nice and bright and captivating, I have a HD tv and at points the picture looked to be popping out of the screen - it was amazing.

        *The Acting*
        The acting in this film was good, but I don't think it's anything out of the ordinary or Oscar worthy. I can not really comment on the acting skills of the CGI'd chimp (lol) but James Franco was pretty flawless, considering that he must of been talking to a tennis ball or a green screen during the scenes with Ceaser, he did a brilliant job of delivering his script emotionally and heartfelt, while not going overboard. The guy who played his dad John Lithgow was a good actor, he did a good job in realistically and believably playing someone with Alzheimer's. The woman who played Will's girlfriend (Freida Pinto) was an okay actor, she was very rarely actually talking though and instead spent a majority of her sceen time looking miserable so I suppose she's an okay facial expression actor lol.

        The guy who voiced Ceaser was okay, however Ceaser only had three or four lines which were towards the end of the film. My favourite actor was probably Tom Felton. Notice I said actor and not character? That's because the character he plays is horrible! He plays the zoo keeper who takes a disliking to Ceaser, but I love where he gets what he deserves. He does a brill job in being a nasty piece of work! All of the CGI'd characters were good, they all had their individual personalities made clear by the facial expressions and I especially liked the huge gorilla and the orangutang. The actors all interacted well with the CGI'd characters and at no point was it cringe worthy.

        *Who's it Suitable For?*
        This film is a twelve certificate which I think is just about right, however for 12 year olds who are on the babyish/sensetive side I don't think that this film would be suitable. I don't think that this film is one that would be suitable for a child under this age to watch, which is a shame because there are some lovely scenes in the film which are funny and cute, but because of the violence and the couple of graphic scenes (including a man having his finger nearly bitten off and an ape being shot dead) I would highly reccomend that you keep your little one from watching this as it'll definetly cause tears! I think this film will appeal mainly to sci fi fans, or people who enjoy films where the tension is built up and then explodes into action.

        *Overall*
        This film is an hour and fourty minutes long, which I think is just right. Towards the end of the film my feet started getting a bit jiggly and I started feeling a bit restless (I hate sitting still for long), and by the time I felt like I needed to stand up or do something to get moving it had finished which I think is good, because some films drag on and on. The film fitted alot of stuff into its 100 minutes. The ending was okay, but I felt it was left unexplained, and left me feeling quite depresed if anything; there was no reassurance that the chimps were actually now free or if they'd be captured 10 minutes later, however I did overall enjoy the film and found it to be a nice mix of genres - there's cute and happy scenes, sad and almost disturbing scenes, and ofcourse action packed scenes which didn't dissapoint!

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          19.12.2011 19:30
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          Good, but not what I was expecting

          Intro

          It's quite a long time since I ventured into the world of Planet of the Apes, but I'd heard some good things about the recent offering Rise of the Planet of the Apes so I decided to give it a viewing. I do like a bit of Sci-Fi but it is usual the space kind that I'm into, not so much the interference of genetics type.


          Rise of the Planet of the apes

          This is basically a prequel to those well scary versions we saw years ago and some not so long ago. My only instant criticism is that the CGI was so blatantly obvious which kind of spoiled it a bit for me. I did of course realise that there was no way real apes were going to be used, I just felt that the CGI was not quite as good as it might have been, and in this respect I think a lot might disagree, but we are all entitled to our opinions.
          Rupert Wyatt directs the film very well and I thought the writing was quite good, so some credit can be given to Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. The main cast performed their tasks very well with special note in my book to the Alzheimer sufferer Charles Rodman played by John Lithgow. The main cast is as such:

          James Franco...........Will Rodman
          Freida Pinto...............Caroline Aranha
          John Lithgow............Charles Rodman
          Brian Cox..................John Landon
          Tom Felton...............Dodge Landon
          It does take some time for the film to actually get to the point, but since the storyline is well written and the acting of decent quality it isn't too much of a burden to go through all the prelims. Will Rodman is trying to find a cur for Alzheimer's, and has a potion, which he believes is the solution, his boss however does not agree and after one of the treated apes goes berserk the blame is put on the serum.

          As it transpires the serum was not totally to blame so Will takes matters into his own hands when he is told that further investment in his research will be terminated, and that all primates will be destroyed. There are some touching scenes concerning the treatment and the problems for carer's associated with Alzheimer's, and these are exacerbated by the superb performance from Lithgow. Things seem to get better as he forgoes further research in the first serum and starts afresh.
          The discovery of a tiny newborn chimp, which was hidden during the destruction of the other primates, causes Will to take it home and look after it. It soon becomes apparent that it has absorbed some of the serum and is indeed a very clever ape. The months pass and Caesar as the ape has been called is astounding Will with his immense progress. Again as you might expect things take a twist and Cease is taken from the care of Will and his new found friend Caroline Aranha ( Feida Pinto ). Romance seems in the air as Will struggles to help his ailing dad and to get Caesar back from the pound. All of this does as I say take up a fair proportion of the film but from here on in it does get faster and more exciting. As Caesar grows so does his confidence and abilities, and he no longer counts Will as the close friend he once did.

          Mayhem and destruction follow in typical adventure movie style and the entertainment value certainly rose significantly as we reached the climax of this movie, but the beginning of the ones we have all seen.

          Summary

          Putting aside my little gripe about the CGI, I was quite engrossed most of the way through this, so much so I was late for an appointment, so it must have been pretty good to have had me captivated for the full spell. It wasn't quite what I was expecting yet it was close enough to grip me. A lot of what was incorporated into the storyline is quite frightening if you pause and think about it afterwards. During the film however I was on the apes side, I couldn't help thinking they were getting a raw deal.

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            08.10.2011 12:54
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            First class film

            *Film Only*

            Now that the summer is coming to an end it's time for me to start visiting the cinema again. Well, I've already started - I went last night to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I hadn't seen any trailers only posters around the city centre advertising this new movie directed by Rupert Wyatt of The Escapist fame.

            Now, I remember sitting in the cinema watching Planet of the Apes many years ago - you know that science fiction classic directed by Franklin J Schaffner in 1968, and being scared. How silly is that?

            Two attempts have been made at revisiting it. The first was a remake by Tim Burton in 2001. The cast he chose were pretty good but the film was awful and now ten years on Wyatt has come up with a prequel to the original film showing how a new species conquered Earth while humans were practically wiped out. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a nice surprise. The film delivers a well structured and fast-paced plot with fantastic cinematography and special effects.

            Will Rodman (James Franco) is a scientist working for a company that specialises in research connected to gene therapy. His mission is to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease. He has an obsessive nature and is spurred on by the sad fact that his father Charles (John Lithgow) is suffering from this degenerative disease. Every day, week, month that passes his father fades away deeper into a closed world. The key to finding the correct form of treatment just happens to be experiments on chimps. One of the experiments comes up with the long awaited results, but just as Will is about to introduce an intelligent female chimp to his superiors, the ape runs riot, is shot down and killed.

            It turns out that the female chimp had given birth a few days ago and was trying to protect her new born baby. Will secretly takes the baby chimp from the laboratory and takes him home with him, where he soon realises he is dealing with an amazing animal. The preparation administered to the female chimp seemed to have stimulated the baby's brain to develop far beyond what is considered normal.

            Moving on a few years, the chimp who has been named Caesar (Andy Serkis) seems to have the mental capabilities of a real child several years older. Caesar communicates by using sign language, can flush the loo and is a dab hand at matchmaking bringing Will and a pretty vet, Caroline Aranha together. Life suddenly seems to take a happier course when Will's father seems to recover and his IQ increases. This is because Will has been secretly administering the new miraculous cure.

            Unfortunately, like in most walks of life circumstances change and suddenly the ape becomes more aggressive and Alzheimer's strikes Will's father again although this time the disease is more severe. One day his father takes his neighbour's car by mistake thinking it is his own. He damages the car and as you can imagine the neighbour isn't happy and starts an argument. Caesar immediately becomes aggressive, attacking the neighbour. The result is a stint in a shelter for apes managed by John Landon (Brian Cox) and his son who has a sadistic streak.

            For the first time in the ape's life he is amongst his own species. Caesar gets mistreated but soon gets the hang of things and realises that intellectually he is much smarter than the average ape.........

            So what did I think of Rise of the Planet of the Apes? I loved it - it was spectacular from start to finish. The script is predictable at times but undeniably coherent. All sub plots are carried through to the end and minor details prove to have some meaning. The climax is a visual masterpiece and and had me sat on the edge of my seat with my jaw open. The epilogue, inserted during the credits at the end, gives a closure to the story and links the film to the classic film that was made 43 years ago. A very enjoyable film - recommended.

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              06.09.2011 17:36
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              Hands-down best blockbuster of 2011 so far

              Well now, here's a pleasant surprise. The first trailer I saw made Rise of the Planet of the Apes look like an empty, noisy film and on the basis of the trailer, I vowed to avoid it. Then I saw the second trailer which made it look a little more interesting and persuaded me that perhaps it was worthy of my money after all. Having now seen the whole film, all I can say is that whilst first impressions might count, they can also be very, very wrong.

              Yes, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is very effects heavy, but they are an integral part of the film, not its sole selling point. For once, provide a means of telling the story effectively, rather than being the story itself. They may be impressive, but Rise has other elements which equal or surpass them, such as an intelligent script which always entertains but rarely preaches; or strong characterisation and some excellent set pieces.

              Unlike the Tim Burton "re-imagining" (awful word, awful film), Rise does not seek to ape (sorry!) previous entries in the series. There are no time/space travelling exploits (bar one single, brief reference) and Rise is set approximately in a world that is still pretty much recognisably 21st century. Sure, there are references back to 1968's original (most pleasingly "Get your paws off me, you damn dirty ape", although there are other more subtle ones), but this is very much its own film and can be watched in isolation, having never seen an Apes film before.

              The plot sees scientist Will Rodman researching a cure for Alzheimer's - a disease which afflicts his father. Using an experimental vaccine on chimps, he discovers that one of the side effects is to make them smarter. When his research is shut down following an unfortunate "incident", Rodman adopts one of the baby chimps to stop it from being destroyed.

              Any consideration of Rise of the Planet of the Apes really has to start with those special effects. Thanks to another performance capture effort by Andy Serkis, they are excellent. Gone are the slightly disturbing chimp-human hybrids that have characterised previous Ape films, replaced instead by some incredible computer generated creatures. You might think that after Gollum, we'd got used to what performance capture technology can do, yet whilst Rise doesn't necessarily advance the medium significantly, it nevertheless provides convincing special effects on a level possibly not been seen before.

              Each of the main apes is given real personality. Indeed, in most cases, they easily outshine their human actor counterparts (which they are clearly meant to do). Buck the gorilla is a force of nature, full of barely contained violence and brute strength, yet displays a fierce loyalty to lead ape Caesar that is touching. The orang-utan is appropriately sad looking and whilst it is the one primate that comes dangerously close to looking a little puppet-like at times, it still has a lot of character.

              Best of all is Caesar who is a character, just as real as Gollum was, fully fleshed out and superbly realised. Whether he is swinging joyfully through the trees as a playful young chimp, commanding his troops in the final climactic battle or displaying sadness following his perceived betrayal by Will, Serkis brings real passion and life to Caesar, giving heart, emotion and life to a bunch of computer pixels. The animation on Caesar's face is exceptionally convincing and, despite the fact that he doesn't talk (mostly), you are never in any doubt what he is thinking or feeling.

              Yet, superb though these effects are, they are just one important element for the film's success. Aware that effects alone do not a film make, Rise mixes in healthy dollops of strong plot (interesting without being revolutionary) and emotion (heart-rending without ever becoming mawkish).

              What is most important is how all these elements blend together. The story is well told and interesting. It might be routine stuff, but it's well-paced and effective. It's also not dragged out for too long. For once, here is a Hollywood film that doesn't feel the need to add over-extended build-ups, flabby middle sections or over-blown finales. It does what it needs to do; then it ends - a rare event in Hollywood these days.

              Character s are also developed effectively so that you actually care about them. Again, the character of Caesar is a good example of building a character in such a way that we understand his motivations, fears and thought processes. It's always a sign that a film has overcome its reliance on special effects when you are so emotionally engaged that you are sad when one of the creatures is injured or killed.

              Against this background of monkeys and special effects, the human cast don't stand out quite as well, but still fare better than they would in most blockbusters. James Franco is excellent as Will Rodman, the scientist who "adopts" the young Caesar. His relationship with the monkey is both touching and convincing and will generate a genuine emotional response in the viewer. John Lithgow turns in a slightly tragic performance as Will's Alzheimer-suffering father Charles. Again, Lithgow brings real heart to his performance, making Alzheimers an all-too-personal disease, rather than a convenient "Disease of the Month" plot point. It's a shame that the script feels the need to include a superfluous romantic interest (a good, but unnecessary Freida Pinto), but this is a Hollywood blockbuster, so I guess you have to expect it.

              Brian Cox is also having a lot of fun as Chimp Sanctuary owner, John Landon. Playing it with a barely concealed smirk, Landon is a mix of X-Men's Colonel Stryker and his Hannibal Lecktor (yes, I have spelt that correctly!) from Manhunter. It's a fun, slightly hammy performance that should jar with the more serious tone of the rest of the film, but somehow works.

              Add in a stirring, final battle (which will definitely see you rooting for the apes), some fantastic set-pieces and a strong ending (providing you stay after the credits have started) and you have the summer's strongest blockbuster so far.

              Super 8's "dream team" collaboration between Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams may have resulted in more column inches, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the better film on pretty much every level. A sequel may be inevitable, but for once, that might not be such a bad thing if it is handled with the same degree of intelligence and care.

              Basic Information
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              Rise of the Planet of the Apes
              2011
              Director: Rupert Wyatt
              Running time: approx. 105 minutes
              Certificate: 12A

              © Copyright SWSt 2011

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