Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #268 Rise of the Planet of the Apes

In Uncategorized on August 13, 2011 at 8:29 AM

Movie #268 Rise of the Planet of the Apes

(2011, US, d. Rupert Wyatt)

There are a lot of things to say about Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but there is a single thought that stands out from the pile: This film has finally learned the ultimate 21st century filmmaking lesson. To be able to not use visual effects as a crutch but rather as a tool to take storytelling to levels not able prior to its existence. This is what Rise of the Apes does. And it does so with incredible flair. From WETA, the visual effects company behind Avatar, all the digital apes and sipians were created through motion tracking and body suits. In other words, behind every wonderfully digitized ape in this film there was a human making every single facial contortion that was later transcribed onto these apes. The most prominent of these actors in the film is the one who plays the most prominent ape in the film, Caesar. His name is Andy Serkis and he deserves an Academy Award for his work in this film. Not only was he able to completely behave and act like an ape, but he was able to tell the entire story of Rise of the Planet of the Apes using just his eyes. Seriously, the emotion you could read on Caesar’s face can tell you the entire film without a single word being used. On top of that, we have the genuinely intelligent writing of Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, which always makes the audience feel like they are experiencing this new world with the main characters of the story. Without allowing the successes and failures of past installments shadow over it, Rise of the Planet of the Apes tells a fresh story, rebooting the story in the most wonderful and 21st century-appropriate of ways. Capitalizing on the revolutionary special effects, we have the fresh visuals from cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, whose slick, fast, and smooth camera never stops moving, but still allows the audience to take in the story. Rise of the Apes is a film that will make you cheer, smile, laugh, and yes, perhaps even cry. It is a film that will have many confused as to what side they should root for: the apes who are beginning their takeover of society or the humans who are defending it. It is a film about freedom and about the suppression we face when judged by others. The best mainstream film of the summer, surpassing everything else by a few miles, Rise of the Planet of the Apes‘ only downfall is that it never really devotes itself to the human characters, thereby underusing the talent in both James Franco and Freida Pinto. But still, if you have a chance, catch this flick in theaters ASAP. It’s absolutely mind-blowing.

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