Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What You Should Have Seen #27

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I got into the Planet of the Apes franchise for about a minute and a half in college. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but I can only assume it was sometime in 1998. That was the year of the 30th anniversary of the movie series, and I think AMC was running the movies and various specials almost nonstop. I watched the first movie, really liked it, and was excited to delve into the series. After watching the second movie, though, I thought it was an extremely sub-par sequel and I lost interest. It also didn’t help that I could get the gist of the series by the AMC specials that basically walked the viewer through all the movies and the TV show.

When Rise first came out, I thought it looked good, but I didn’t have a big desire to see it. I’m not the biggest James Franco fan. I don’t like him as an actor, but he seems like such a likeable guy that you can’t help but wonder what type of character he’s going to take on next.

I’m enjoying a Cinemax free for three months, and I noticed this movie was available On Demand, so I thought what the hell.

There are enough talented actors in this movie to make up for my ambivalence for James Franco, specifically John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Taylor Labine, and a surprising appearance by Tom Felton. I wonder if his tenure as Draco Malfoy typecast him as a dick, because he sure does a good job here.

I like this origin story better than the one given in the original series during Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Medical miracle works better for me than baby of future apes. I’m also amazed at how the combination of Andy Serkis’ acting and some incredible CGI really brings Caesar to life. Watching this ape grow from a baby into the leader of an ape rebellion is amazing. I care more about his struggle than the human drama unfolding between Will Rodman (Franco’s character) and his dad or the romance that develops between Rodman and Caroline Aranha (Freida Pinto).

This was a wonderful beginning to the rebirth of a classic franchise. I’m really looking forward to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 2014. Between the shuttle crew on Mars and the virus that’s loose in the world, I think there are some great stories to be told.

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