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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rise of The Planet of The Apes Review

Rise of the Plant of the Apes was not a horrible film, but it certainly never lives up to its potential.

A Pharmaceutical company tests drugs on apes. The apes are given a drug that can reverse Alzheimer's symptoms.  By taking the drug, apes become very intelligent. Their intelligence reveals to them how badly they are treated and how to revolt against humans.

The cast is never given the opportunity to give great performances. I thought their roles could have been adequately played by lesser actors.  James Franco does a nice job but really isn't given a script that lets him exploit his acting talents.  This is no "127 Hours."  His character, while very likable, is flat and uninspiring. The role is beneath him.

Franco's character has a girlfriend too. This actress is forgettable. I don't know her real name and won't bother to look it up. She's very beautiful but adds absolutely nothing to the film. I kept waiting for this character to contribute something, anything to the movie but there was nothing.  She is hot looking though so I suspect her character was meant to reassure the audience that the likable, leading man is truly a heterosexual and that's about it.

Emmy Award actor Brian Cox brings nothing to the movie as well.  I don't blame his talents, he has oodles of acting talent. This film provides him nothing to work with. He plays a very shallow, evil (sort of) character and that is all. His part could be  played by any first-year acting student.

Apparently, California has penal prison system for primates.   Primates are sent there under court order so I guess they get a trial too.  It is a place where apes are kept under 24 hour guard. This prison is a dark and cavernous place.  There's an evil warden, a cruel guard, bad food, a hierarchy among prisoners and a daring escape. In about 10 minutes time, Rise of the Planet of the Apes manages to, unintentionally, parody every prison movie ever made. It's laughable, and not in a good way.

Let's talk about the climatic battle in the end....

Surprisingly, there seems to be hundreds of primates ready to be mobilized for combat in California. Is this really enough troops for a conquest? It was barely enough for a battle.   In the original film, "Conquest of the Planet of Apes" there were thousands if not millions of apes walking the streets, living in peoples homes, working in public, etc. Their take over of the planet seemed plausible. 

In "Rise of The Planet of the Apes" the final conflict consists of maybe a hundred or two-hundred apes by my estimate.  It makes for an entertaining escape scene but not much of a battle scene. It is like reenacting the battle of Gettysburg and the confederate army fails to show up.

There is some killing and some mercy done by the apes in the final fight. So, are we supposed to think the apes are peace loving or a lethal force? I mean, who are the bad guys in the final fight? Some police die in the fight but nowhere in the film are the cops vilified like the evil big-pharma company or the prison. Am I supposed to feel happy for the apes? How am I supposed to feel?

The climatic battle finale is a big let-down. It could have saved the film.

This is a spoiler so stop reading if you'd rather not hear an ending.  The great escape by the apes is a joke. The apes escape to the Redwood forest.  Great place to hide but wouldn't they, eh, die there?  Seriously, these were captive apes who've been fed their whole lives by humans. Where will they find food?  I don't recall any banana trees in the Redwood forest, do you?

A harmless, dopey, uneven film that takes few chances.

More Great Reviews by TurtleDog

James Franco in 127 Hours

Howl - Franco Plays Controversial Beat Poet Ginsberg

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