A Brief Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Grade: B-


Aww man. That was such a good action movie.

Commentary: A Classic Reborn

It only seems right that The Planet of the Apes series be re-packaged for us (à la that new Spider-Man movie they’re putting out).  But unlike a lot of remakes of remakes, this movie feels at home within the already vast Planet of the Apes landscape which features 5 movies ranging from 1968-1973, a cartoon series, and the remake which many of us remember which stared “Marky” Mark Wahlberg Captain Leo Davidson.

To be fair, Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) stands as a very apt origin-story that manages, without being cheesy, to explain how it was that Charlton Heston (and later “Marky” Mark Walberg) landed on a planet that was ruled by apes who walked and talked like men.  Interesting enough, unlike either the original or the remake, there were no people in ape costumes.  Modern movie technology allowed Andy Serkis (who also played King Kong in 2005) to make the main character, Caesar, come to life without actually having to climb into an ape costume.

Without spoiling too much, Caesar’s life and rise to power seem to echo that Roman statesman whose name he carries and I certainly see the potential for Caesar to need to watch his back on the ides of March, or the sequel to the pre-sequel.  Speaking of sequels and pre-sequel sequels, The Planet of the Apes is already a rather big movie-verse.  I find it interesting that it has been revived and I am curious to see what they think up for the sequel to the pre-sequel which could very well be a remake of the remake:

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Return to the Planet of the Apes (1975)

The Planet of the Apes (2001)

What I found particularly interesting was The Rise’s ability to make you sympathize with the apes and to want them to succeed even against humans.  While I still managed to be conscious of the film doing this, making me rather un-empathetic for the human species, the movie-goers I watched the film with cheered particularly hard when the apes won and even harder when humans “got served” by apes.  This was the most skin crawling effect that the movie had.  Particularly because this was not the feeling created in the original films which felt more like stories of what would happen because the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been signed…

Why the B(-): The Remake Rant

We seem to be witnessing Hollywood’s Age of the Superhero/Action Movie Remake.  To be sure, they are box office hits: The Rise of the Planet of the Apes raked in $77 million this weekend.  But there’s something rather special about seeing a brand new movie and getting to know it’s conventions.  I don’t doubt the awe that people felt after watching The Planet of the Apes (1968) in its original form.  And while The Rise of was certainly worth telling, the remakes of remakes are getting rather redundant, right?

Nevertheless, I liked this movie.  Definitely worth seeing in theaters.

As I’ve argued before, there are so many stories that should be brought to life, but are simply being overlooked.

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