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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oppression leads to unrest -- RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES movie review

Potato On the Go:

Special visual effects plus compelling story only produce good result... a spectacular movie experience.  This is what I witnessed during the press screening of 20th Century Fox's movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

For the background story behind the production, you may read this post: http://digitista.blogspot.com/2011/07/witness-rise-of-planet-of-apes-on.html

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES or ROTPOTA (as how the industry people refer to it) combines fantastic storytelling with the next leap in visual effects for an emotional and action-packed motion picture experience unlike any other. Man’s arrogance sets off a chain of events that leads to intelligence in apes and a challenge to our place as the dominant species on the planet. Caesar, the first intelligent ape, is betrayed by humans and rises up to lead his species’ spectacular race to freedom and the ultimate showdown with Man.

Initially, you may see Rise of the Planet of the Apes as a disaster movie with animals (apes) being the cause of the havoc.  ROTPOTA however proves that it's beyond that genre.  Disaster movies usually depict greedy characters who cause the problems, Rise of the Planet of the Apes has that but the contrasting part is the very reason why the scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) is passionately and patiently looking and developing the cure for Alzheimer's Disease is his genuine love for his old father.  And as he engages himself in that search, he eventually demonstrated fatherly love as well to Caesar (Andy Serkis who also played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings), the super intelligent chimpanzee he adopted. But contrary to movies of the same genre, ROTPOTA showed compelling reason why the crisis in the city happened, the apes' fought for their place in the world; a world which humans do not own alone but share with other living creatures.  And as typical of this kind of film, it also reminds us that we cannot control nature, and balance is always the key to survival.

Special visual effects is amazing and it effectively showed how apes move and act naturally.  Thanks to the film's director Rupert Wyatt and Peter Jackson’s filmmaking empire Weta Digital, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” breaks anew new grounds in moviemaking history using photorealistic apes instead of actors in costumes exposed to natural setting. Owing much of its origin to Avatar, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” for the first time uses technology that allows audiences to emotionally engage with the lead animal character Caesar who does not actually exist.

Acting wise, I was amazed and (and a few times scared) with Andy Serkis' portrayal of Caesar.  I was just not ready to see an ape with equal intelligence, emotion and 'skills' as humans.  It freaks me out!  =D  Although surprisingly human like acts of Caesar were largely enjoyed by the audience.  I heard people laugh and say big OHs and noticed that they were really amazed!  John Litgow's (Charles Rodman, the father with Alzheimer's Disease) and James Franco's (Will Rodman) performances as father and son as moved me and made me feel and understand Will's ordeals and reasons for his passionate take on the discovery of the cure.  Tom Felton who first irked us as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series played the role of animal center keeper Dodge Landon.   Felton proved his acting brand equity that he was able to develop through the HP series.  How?  He is truly irritating in this film, there is really much consistency!  =D

The setting created for the movie is another excellent job.  From the laboratory, to the Rodman's household, to the animal center, up to the woods, Art Direction is able to create the perfect backdrop for Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  The life like sound and musical score are another factors that fueled the tension and fear among the movie spectators.

As we were entertained and brought to suspense by the movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, for me tells one major thing.  Oppression leads to unrest, may it be among humans or apes or any other living creatures.  The movie showed us how these primates fought for their place in Earth, which is the same thing that happens to people who are oppressed and deprived of their rights.

And on another note, this also tells us how humans can still act like animals and how animals can be more humane than humans.

As for points for improvement, I just noticed that there were some movements by Ceasar that looks quite animated.  Yes it is unnatural because he's displaying human like intelligence and skills but I think the ape "moves" shouldn't be completely left out.  And one question I thought of is, "Will the American woods / forests can be a good habitat for these apes?"

As the movie ended, it showed another problem which may lead to the film's sequel.  Let's see if this will happen in the future. 

From a scale of 1 to 10 claps, I'm giving Rise of the Planet of the Apes a loud 7 1/2 plus strong pounding on the chest!  From Warner Bros. Pictures, the movie opens in 3D and 2D theaters on August 4!

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