Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Rise of the Planet of the ApesIt’s possibly unfair to complain about the predictability of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Is it the filmmaker’s fault that the trailer prominently includes the climactic showdown between revolutionary, super-intelligent apes and police? Probably not. But when the predictability of the narrative is informed by a familiarity with Planet of the Apes or, hell, by just reading the fucking title, I feel my qualms are justified.

Cutesy references aside – Draco Malfoy yelling, “Get your hands off me you damn dirty ape!” plus fleeting mentions of a Mars mission – there’s no reason a foregone conclusion couldn’t make for a good film. Problem is, director Rupert Wyatt takes this thoroughly silly concept so damn seriously without finding a serious screenplay or plausible special effects to back him up.

The CGI is technically impressive, but it doesn’t look believable; meanwhile, the emotional arc of the film is just too simplistic. Why not draw parallels between Caesar’s revolution and historical injustices? Instead we get monkeys angry about being treated like monkeys. The film’s only real tension exists in Caesar and Franco’s relationship, which is resolved in the least interesting way imaginable. Stop the planet of the apes, I want to get off.

2 stars

21 thoughts on “Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

    • Cheers – note that I’m referring to the film from a couple years ago, not the new one, though! I should have a review up for the sequel by mid-next week.

      • I noticed that when I replied. It was a tad confused. I thought the new release has to do with the uprising against humans. SSSooooo. I saw the trailer for the new one and it seems like the same plot.

      • Yeah, the new one definitely looks like “more of the same, only darker and grittier” (though, honestly, I think the position the film is in by its conclusion sets it up for a much richer sequel).

      • I really enjoyed the original film and maybe one or two thereafter. When they came out with this new redux, I was excited. Even with the CGI, the script is weak and I’m disappointed.

      • I haven’t actually seen any of the original series, bar the first. I’d kind of dismissed them as not worth my time – incorrect?

    • Yeah, a lot of people seemed to like it much more than I did! I just couldn’t engage with it, I suppose..

  1. Very well-done movie. Especially since it paid so much attention to the plight of these apes and why their stories deserve to be told, over the humans. Good review.

    • I just wish there’d been more substance to the necessity of the ape’s rebellion. It seem focused on one or two (implausibly) cruel humans rather than a more consistent system of servitude/torture (which they totally could’ve sold, given how we treat animals as a species).

    • This is about Rise not Dawn, though! I’m seeing Dawn Monday and I’m hoping it’s a substantial improvement on its prequel.

      • Ahhhh…my mistake. I browsed over it too quickly, because I was trying to avoid spoilers. But I was fond of “Rise”, as well! Gave it a B+ back in 2011. So, I guess I should be saying…I hope we both love “Dawn”! I’ll check back for your review next week. ML

      • I’m optimistic for Dawn, it’s getting some great buzz. Then again, obviously everyone liked this one more than I did, so maybe I’ll be in the minority again?

  2. I saw this at a drive-in, and something was wrong with the sound, so it sounded like everyone was speaking with a lisp. It was difficult to take James Franco seriously when he would say things like “Theethar!” and “he had exthremely high intelligenthe.”
    But I do remember thinking it was much better than I’d expected it would be.

  3. I never did see this, largely because I expected it to be as bad as you just described. I know that many viewers like it considerably more than I might have expected, but — all the same — I don’t think it’s for me.

      • I’m not all that much interested in the sequel either. But you are one of my favorite reviewers (not bloggers – reviewers), so I will probably be more likely to see the second now. We’ll find out once I read the review of the sequel.

  4. Pingback: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) | ccpopculture

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