Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Did you know?

The name of Tom Felton's character Dodge Landon is a reference to the characters Dodge (Jeff Burton) and Landon (Robert Gunner), Colonel Taylor's (Charlton Heston) fellow astronauts in Planet of the Apes.

When the original Planet of the Apes was release in 1968 it surprised everyone with its twist ending revealing that the astronauts were not on some alien planet but actually Earth, now ruled by intelligent apes. What wasn’t discussed was how this all came about, and what had happened to all the humans. It was all hinted at with the subsequent films but never did we get to see the significant point in which it all changed.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes reboots the series and takes us back to the beginning where humans are attempting to develop a cure for Alzheimer’s and are testing it on apes. As it turns out, not only does the cure work but it also further enhances the brain, making the apes more intelligent. Caesar is one of the first apes to display this remarkable intelligence although he is secretly being kept by lead scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) out of fear of what would happen to him. Eventually, Caesar gets locked up by animal control after a freak incident. No liking living in captivity, Caesar devises a way to escape and revolt against his human oppressors.

Using the latest in digital technology, Rise of the Planet of the Apes manages to give character and emotion to the apes in the film. Yes, it’s easy to see that they’re not using real apes in the scenes but you immediately feel that this was the right decision. Andy Serkis aka Gollum from The Lord of the Rings brings Caesar to life through motion capture.

You’re instantly drawn to Caesar’s character. You know what he’s thinking; what he’s feeling. For this reason, you actually develop a bond with him as he’s not just some “damn dirty ape.” In some ways he’s the villain of the film, trying to take down humanity, but you can’t help but cheer for him and want him to win despite knowing the inevitable conclusion.

Another thing that makes the film so enjoyable is all the little references to the other Planet of the Apes films, especially the first. Fans will no doubt go through the film with a fine comb trying to find all the clues. I think even at one point you can even see the original film playing in the background. Things like this that are what make something good into something great. Rise of the Planet of the Apes makes you want to go back and watch the original films that much more. It takes various aspects from them and manages to create an original story that’s entertaining and expands the mythos.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes you back to the beginning before the apes ruled the Earth when things were just beginning to change. The film also manages to foreshadow future events, setting up possible sequels. Whether you’re a fan of the classic films or a newcomer altogether, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is fantastic for everyone.

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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