Thursday, August 4, 2011

Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I’m always fascinated by the profound intelligence apes, chimps, and monkeys possess. In the animal kingdom, they’re the only animals that have the ability to use tools for eating or hunting for food and, sometimes, as weapons to display male dominance or just simply protecting a young. As creepy as it may seem, I’m always intrigued to imagine that someday, these animals might finally learn to acquire human higher functions and intellect and live among us.

In 2001, Tim Burton resurrected the 1968 film Planet of the Apes, based from a book of the same title authored by French novelist Pierre Bullies. It’s about an astronaut (played by Mark Wahlberg) who landed on a strange planet inhabited by intelligent apes that treat humans as slaves. The movie ended with Wahlberg’s character eventually finding his way to Earth only to find out that the Earth’s present inhabitants were all apes.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is more of a prequel to Tim Burton’s version although several reviews indicated this particular film as an original story. But somehow, it seems interconnected to the 2001 remake. After more than 10 years since the 2001 film, the CGI technology brought this new film to far greater heights without the usual realistic synthetic rubber costumes and make ups which, back then, were already a cutting-edge thing. Andy Serkis, the guy who played Golum in LOTR, was also the one who played the character role of Caesar, the experimental subject chimp who became the leader of the primate revolt.

James Franco, the hiker who cut off his hand with a dull knife in the movie 127 Hours, has once again proven his superb acting talents this time as Dr. Will Rodman. In this film, Franco played the scientist who, although with good intentions, dared to monkey around with nature and science that eventually resulted into a catastrophe of genetic proportions. In the movie, a short scene revealed a clue when NASA launched a Mars expedition that was later reported to be “lost in space”. For those who watched the 2001 Tim Burton film, one can easily find the connection to the Wyatt’s version, and somehow get to appreciate more of the previous movie.

In general, this sci-fi movie is not the usual remake of the bullying apes novel where the setting is totally out of this world. It is set on Earth so the story becomes not that far from reality. Somehow, viewers will have an afterthought, that stories as fictional as this have the possibility to come true in the near future. It is a mind-blowing experience that viewers will certainly enjoy. In fact, I did so, very much, because the particular press screening I attended was extra special. You see, I had the opportunity to try one of SM Cinemas’ newly-installed reclining chairs with their leather-covered cushions which definitely made watching movies a fantastic experience :)

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