Monday, November 28, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I was just thinking the other day “Hey! I haven’t ripped a popular movie apart in a while!” That’s right, I begin all my thoughts with “Hey!” Don’t judge. And since I reviewed a movie yesterday that I really loved, I think the only plausible way to follow it up is with reviewing a movie that I really hated. So what recent movie have I hated that everybody else seemed to love? I’ll give you a hint: It involves a group of individuals squaring off against evil people in an attempt to make the world a better place.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2?
Nope! Rise of the Planet of the Apes! Notice I didn’t say people, I said individuals. Monkeys are not people, I don’t care what PETA, Tarzan, James Cameron or his armies of blue smurf monkeys say.

Yeah, for those of you who don’t know, I have a particular hatred for this movie. I like the original movie with Charlton Heston. Mainly because at the time, I can see why so many people liked this movie. It may have been campy, silly and had a ridiculous premise, but it didn’t try to be more than that. It was just your typical sci-fi adventure flick. And also it has freaking Charlton Heston in it! One of the coolest dudes to have ever walked the earth! Only Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery can trump his awesomeness! Who does this movie star? James Franco… Wow, what a fitting replacement. Even the last movie had Mark Wahlberg. Was it a great movie? I don’t know, I seem to have blocked it from my memory. But at least it had Mark Wahlberg! Is Franco a good actor? Yes, I’ll give him a point for that.

Let's be honest, please tell me that I’m not the only one who is a little pissed off by that title. Did nobody else feel like the title was a kick to their intelligence’s balls? Why couldn’t it just be called Rise of the Apes? Were they worried that nobody would connect it to the original movie? A movie about Apes becoming intelligent and starting to take over the earth is in no way related to a movie about apes that became intelligent and took over the earth. Nope! My feeble mind could not see that. Thank you for adding in the word PLANET into the title. For a while, I was hazy, but now I see, clear as day, that this is in fact, a prequel to Planet of the Apes. Even so, there are so many references to the original that if they trailer wasn’t enough of an indicator, you could see this movie and know full well that this is connected to the movie from the 60’s. First off, they use a quote taken directly from the original “Get your filthy hands off me you damn dirty apes!” so either this is a prequel or the director decided to rip off that line and call it “tribute”. Also, Tom Felton’s character, Dodge Landon, is a reference to not one, but TWO characters from the original movie. And then the biggest wink to the audience comes when we see a headline about an astronaut disappearing in space. Geez, I wonder who that could be! Let’s see, Charlton Heston’s character was an astronaut before he crash-landed… The article spoke of an astronaut… Could it be?... No, it can’t be… Could Charlton Heston’s character be the one the newspaper spoke of? Maybe. Right now, it’s just a theory. So yeah, there were enough obvious references and connections to the first movie that you don’t need to add the word PLANET into the title.

Also, what really annoys me is the fact that this movie even has to exist. What made the first one so unique and great was the twist ending. You see the whole movie Charlton Heston thinks he is in an alternate reality or another planet, only to realize that he’s in the future after seeing a toppled Statue of Liberty. This was one of those twists that knocked everybody on their ass and continues to be one of the most iconic movie endings to date. By making a prequel to it, it kind of ruins what was so special about it. It would be like they made a prequel about Keyser Soze’s life and everything leading up to the events of The Usual Suspects. Or better yet, making crappy prequels explaining how characters like Hannibal Lecter or Darth Vader came into being. Oh crap, those already exist. What is it with Hollywood and ruining cool movie characters? What’s interesting about stories like Planet of the Apes is not how they got there, it’s the fact that they already are there. That fact is interesting enough, you don’t need to explain it to us, we don’t need to know!

While I can appreciate the fact that the filmmakers tried to Nolanize* the idea and make it believable, there are still areas that I had trouble buying. I still can’t buy the idea of apes overthrowing humans, especially if it takes place in a time when humans have flamethrowers, dynamite, Gatling guns, RPG’s, grenades, napalm, nukes, helicopters, ninjas, heat-seeking missiles, shotguns, and Chuck Norris. If this took place in the 60’s, maybe I could believe it. What’s that? We had most of that in the sixties as well? F&$# it then, this movie should have never been made. Sure, you see them take down one of the helicopters, but that was because it had a dumbass controlling it. No other explanation. Now if it had somebody like Rambo, Howlin’ Mad Murdock or Boba Fett piloting it, those apes would have made some handsome fur coats.

What did save this movie for me was Andy Serkis. Don’t know who that is? Shame on you. Mr. Serkis is known for playing a character in a little movie, not a big deal, you may have heard about it, it’s called 13 Going On 30. But he is also known for playing Gollum in The Lord of the Rings movies. He provided the movements and facial expressions for the main monkey, Ceasar. And he really did do a good job of it. For a while, I forgot that it was a CGI ape and actually thought that it was a real ape. That alone saved this movie from utter failure in my book.

Final Grade: C+
Yours truly,

*Nolanize- adj. To take something from a movie that normally isn’t very believable and put it into a situation where it looks like it could happen. The term comes from the name of director Christopher Nolan, whose crowning achievement is taking the characters from the Batman universe, putting it into ours, and making two of the coolest movies of all time, while making situations like these look perfectly plausible

1 comment:

  1. Before people get too mad, I should clarify that the part about James Franco is more of a joke. He is a fine actor and did a good job in this movie. This review is more of a rant than an actual review and I don't have any real problems with this movie.