Wednesday, 31 August 2011
TOP 5 SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS: #1-RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
There's no business like monkey business.
Starring: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton & Andy Serkis. Director: Rupert Wyatt. Screenplay: Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
OK you apes face it, we humans have had a fascination with primates and how close they are to us in intelligence and mannerisms and that stretches back even way before the first one of these films about these animals taking over was released back in 1968. Almost as fascinated as our obsession and paranoia with end of the world movies that make us feel like they could happen one day. Since then there have been many more movies made and many more end of the world movies made, but nothing have been closer to home and closer to us than this.
First there was Charlton Heston, then there was Mark Wahlberg (in the Tim Burton 2001 remake) and now there is James Franco leading this latest reboot of the 'Planet Of The Apes' franchise to deeper and more meaningful places. Set in the classic, sensational city of San Francisco, Franco's character has a lot to deal with (and where not talking about his great love interest Freida Pinto) he's developed a drug to try to cure Alzheimer's disease which is tested on the apes and is what his father (played brilliantly by John Lithgow) is given to get better. Still, like with any drug there is side-effects and cue some protective qualities mistaken for monkeying around, loss, chaos and evolution to revolution arises.
With the apes looking to takeover like aliens in their own war of the worlds with humans what results is some epic battles, struggles for power, some trashing of San Fran (every movie, that poor city gets it) and refreshingly a story arc that your unsure where is actually going. It's this unpredictable ending that actually leads to somewhat of an anit-climax but save that, some corny words, some ill-advised horse riding and a red sweater moment that looks like something out of a 'PG Tips' advert, this is a perfect picture and homage to the series. Even the lone ranger stuff harks back to the original and an television news clip aside really sets the original story straight to boot.
Franco (an actor who's stock has rose considerably since 'Pineapple Express' in 2008) is on top form recovering from his '127 Hours' to become one of the best leading men this year (especially with his role as Allen Ginsberg in 'Howl') and fellow Danny Boyle darling Pinto is as smart as she is beautiful. Coming from another '3rd Rock From The Sun', John Lithgow is more serious and sincere and what would a Hollywood film be without Scot Bian Cox. The real stars in this film however are the apes, from their convincing CGI to their personal and inter-group development. This really is a heart-warming, though-provoking and smart movie and it's all done by the animals, you'll be left attached to the young, adorable Cesar (no not Julius). This film will leave you able to convey all human emotions like it's hairy stars.
This movie really does rise. With a thrilling third act on the Golden Gate bridge, classic views and shining examples of great time-lapse's in character and story development this picture really does motion well through it's run-time. Even with a decent Summer season and year of blockbusters-especially in the fantasy/end of the world theme-this really is king, beating it's chest like Kong. Howling louder than the rest of what their up against it's clear that the apes have taken over. TIM DAVID HARVEY.