The Bicentennial Production Design - Can we just give a standing ovation to the 1976 Academy for giving the award to a contemporary movie? They had a Western, a period drama about the theatre...
Sunday, August 7, 2011
OVERALL SCORE: 8.50/10
With a tagline that sent shockwaves through the cerebral cortex of any human being who dared look upon it, and a sequence of trailers sequentially more unsatisfying than the last, Rise of the Planet of the Apes seemed to me almost t-ed up for a screeching thud into land of the easily forgotten. Yet hidden beneath the surface of all that mangled marketing phooey is a film with a distinguishable depth, compassion, and curiosity that blends summer blockbuster and character study into a compact, and engrossing two hour journey.
The evolution of Caesar from curious but gentle hearted baby chimpanzee to the intellectual leader of a new race of super Apes brings much to the table for the viewer wanting such an experience. It would have been easy for the directors to throw a simple spin 'look dumb apes, now smart apes - action ahoy' rush job in order to maintain a high intensity thrill ride of a picture, but Director Rupert Wyatt and writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver knew exactly what needed to be done with this - create a world and put the viewer in it. I say it all the time, but it's perhaps the most undervalued trait a movie can give its viewer. If the team behind the picture can build that world, convince the viewer of the sincerity of the people inside it, and then carry on from there, it becomes a film viewers remember.
Though to build this world, Wyatt and company rely heavily on ol' fashion Hollywood archetypes, and seem comfortable not stretching out beyond such. Caesar is the real scene stealer for the film, and Serkis knows how to pull that off better than perhaps any other working actor. Franco's dry demeanor is put on turbo dry for this tale. Pinto is easy on the eyes but her character is given next to nothing to do, the same could be said for Brian Cox (especially the easy on the eyes part - just saying). Lithgow is always a delight, but he's unfortunately trapped in an overwritten role. The only two stars who represent the human side of the film with any memorable prowess are Tom Felton and David Oyelowo.
What I found most surprising about Rise of the Planet of the Apes is just how much story and development it manages to cram in an hour and forty-five minutes. The amount of non-verbal character building and molding it creates, it simply admirable - especially when you factor in the heavy summer-based requirement of action and violence to keep the audiences in check.
So, what kind of action does the film bring to the table? Well, more or less, it blends it into the plot. When I must say is such a refreshing feeling. The action works as a compliment to the story, not the navigating factor of it. Even the final battle, which we all know the film is building towards, doesn't feel forced or a simple baseline requirement. The film builds to its conclusion, not the other way around. Though with that comes a certain lack of sharp cynicism that reverberated throughout the prior installments, which I can honestly say was rather refreshing.
Directed By: Rupert Wyatt
Written By: Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
Novel "La Planete Des Singes" By: Pierre Boulle