What a perfect summer movie this is! James and I went with our friends Denis and Michael with pretty low expectations, but it was really a treat.
Don’t let the movie’s title fool you. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is really all about the relationships, and the characters and their connections, how they love each other, but betray each other. If you don’t shed a tear when James Franco finds the Curious George doll that he lost in kindergarten, I’ll be a…
No it’s not. It’s RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, for god’s sake.
It’s about Simian Revenge. It’s about Guerrilla Gorillas. It’s about Monkey Power. It’s about retelling that old story and making it fresh and nearly plausible, if you don’t think too hard. I haven’t had this much fun at the movies since Twister, where Helen Hunt (who won an Oscar one time???) was acting in front of that CGI cow that goes flying around. Remember that? Well R. of the P. of the A. is EVEN BETTER than Twister!
The basic premise is that James Franco is a scientist (um… okay.) and he’s working at at lab that’s doing animal testing for a drug for Alzheimer’s. The experiments succeed beyond his “wildest” imagination. Without revealing the ending, one can assume that, since the movie is called “Rise” of the Planet of the Apes, the apes end up in pretty good shape.
Obviously this ain’t Shakespeare, but it’s told very well, and kept me guessing. The CGI chimps are pretty cool. The tone of the movie isn’t campy or self-referential, which is refreshing. The action scenes are heart pounding and the plot even engages your mind just a little, with enough clever twists to make me feel like someone who made this film was trying.
Stuff blows up. There’s a showdown on the Golden Gate Bridge. Chimpanzees are everywhere, bearing their teeth and screeching. Freida Pinto is in the movie, and she doesn’t get in the way of the monkeys wreaking havoc too much. John Lithgow got paid to be in it, too. He is the only one really acting, but he doesn’t make a big deal of it. He knows who is the star.
Look. I love a sub-titled, indie film about sisters bicycling across Europe and learning to forgive as much as the next gay guy, but sometimes you want to see monkeys kick ass. Go see this movie!