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Customer Review

114 of 123 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic action film, with brains., 21 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Triple Play (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
What a very very good film this is. In `Rise of The Planet of the Apes', English director Rupert Wyatt has a stab at doing what Tim Burton failed spectacularly to do in 2001 - resurrecting the Planet of the Apes franchise. What Wyatt has created, against all the odds, is a thoughtful, intelligent and stirring piece which provides the perfect antidote to all the silly, lacklustre `Apes' films since Franklin J. Schaffer's classic original from 1968.

The film charts the rise of Caesar, an orphaned laboratory chimp, from timid youngster to a sort of revolutionary leader of his fellow Simians. Will Rodman (James Franco) is a scientist at a pharmaceutical company researching a new drug and potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease that reverses the damage to brain tissue, tested on chimps. The effect it has on these animals is to rapidly increase intelligence to an unprecedented degree. After one of the apes goes berserk and trashes the laboratory, the drug is rejected by investors and all but one of the chimps, the baby Caesar, are killed. Will takes the chimp home with him and raises it himself but continues to use the drug on his father (John Lithgow), an Alzheimer's sufferer. Needless to say things go awry, and Caesar is taken away to a special facility where a large number of primates are held in captivity. Along the way there are various maltreatments of Caesar and his fellow chimps at the hands of sadistic humans, all of which contributes to his rise to power. Here begins the most powerful section of the movie, as Caesar gains the trust of his fellow apes and then eventually begins to command them.

Absolutely central to the success of the movie is the performance of Andy Serkis as Caesar, again displaying his enormous physical talents and reaffirming why he is the `go to' man for motion capture. Whether he be Gollum, King Kong, Captain Haddock or Caesar, someone please change the Academy rules and nominate this brilliant actor for an Oscar. The CGI effects are, for the most part, remarkable and as good as I have seen to date, with just a few slips; moments where you are reminded that the chimps aren't actually there. The final clash between apes and humans on the Golden Gate Bridge is thrilling and spectacular.

Sadly the performances of the human contingent are less spectacular. This is perhaps partly due to the fact that they have increasingly little to do as the film progresses, becoming almost fringe characters. Indeed, Freida Pinto has little to do from the start besides look pretty and smile sympathetically. But this is a fairly minor gripe because this is very much Caesar's story. In fact it makes the movie all the more impressive because Caesar's rise is depicted for a large portion of the film with very little dialogue. The pick of the human performances is probably John Lithgow as Will's father, a man losing his identity.

A really pleasant surprise this one. On the one hand a great action movie, with some thrilling set-pieces and terrific special effects. But its real power lies in the performance of Serkis as the central character, and the fun to be had watching him lead a Spartacus style revolution against oppression. 8.5/10.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Dec 2011, 06:36:36 GMT
What an excellent review. Gonna have to see this film soon!

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Dec 2011, 01:45:48 GMT
Merph says:
and on the other hand? ... well come on and finish a statement!

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Mar 2012, 13:00:58 GMT
M. Carter says:
I saw this at the cinema as was absolutely enthralled.

Posted on 24 Mar 2012, 19:48:25 GMT
Morgan Pugh says:
Superb review which I agree with completely. I expected this film to be quite lame but it was the surprise big action film for me in 2011. Much more so than other action films of last year such as Mission Impossible.

Posted on 3 Sep 2012, 09:40:26 BST
Pretty spot-on review - definitely a film which seems to end up undoing people's expectiations and surprising everyone who sees it.

Posted on 23 Oct 2013, 23:04:41 BST
M. Freeman says:
Not sure if anybody has told you, but Mark Kermode refers to this review in his book 'Hatchet Job' as a positive example of amazon's review system.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Nov 2013, 00:03:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Feb 2014, 20:31:42 GMT
Rob Payne says:
Hi. Many thanks for letting me know about this; I wasn't aware and doubtless would have remained ignorant. I've since bought a copy.

Posted on 12 Jul 2014, 16:18:13 BST
mike half says:
Excellent review. Thanks.

Posted on 14 Jul 2014, 12:18:25 BST
Excellent review Rob, Spot on review.
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