“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” stars James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, and Andy Serkis. Released on August 5, 2011, the film is about a chimp who leads an army of apes on a revolution against the humans.
The film is directed by Rupert Wyatt, who also directed The Escapist and the 2014 remake of The Gambler. It is a reboot of the Planet of the Apes film series. With the latest Planet of the Apes film coming out on July 14, I decided to look back at the first two films that form the Planet of the Apes reboot series, which showcases the events that lead up to the 1968 original. Now, normally I would watch the original and its sequels first, and then move on to the reboot series, but for some reason, I just didn’t have enough time to watch all of them before War for the Planet of the Apes comes out, so I decided to shorten up the film marathon a bit and start with this. Before this film, I wasn’t that very familiar with the franchise to begin with since I’m more focused on the recent releases, but the marketing for it managed to grab my attention. I saw it in the theater with my father and I remembered loving every minute of it. While I haven’t found the right time for me to check out the original Planet of the Apes film, I did manage to grow attached to the franchise via the prequel films. Looking back at it now, I still find it to be a great introduction to the reboot series that not only delivers on the science fiction thrills, but also on its story.
The cast delivered some great performances, including James Franco as Will Rodman and Tom Felton as Dodge Landon.
Andy Serkis was absolutely brilliant as Caesar. His expressions and his unique ability to bring his characters to life are perfect examples of his motion capture performance.
Rupert Wyatt’s direction was solid in terms of mixing in emotion and character depth with its usual blockbuster thrills.
The visual effects, mostly the motion capture on the apes, were pretty impressive, but watching it again now, they do look a bit noticeable at times.
The film has its cliched messages about messing with something they can’t control.
Final thoughts: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is still a science-fiction treat that relies on strong themes and character-driven moments without sacrificing the thrills and the visual flair that most action blockbusters are known for. Lead by a talented cast, Serkis’ memorable performance as Caesar, and Wyatt’s direction, this 2011 reboot to the sci-fi classic still holds a place as one of the rare reboots that actually works. If you’re a fan of the Planet of the Apes franchise or a simple newcomer to the film series, I would highly recommend it.
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