It’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.