Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

“Ape alone... weak. Apes together strong”“Ape alone... weak. Apes together strong”

“Ape alone… weak. Apes together strong”

This trilogy makes me care more about computer generated apes than I do most humans. In today’s world that’s not entirely a hot take. Before this first apes film in this new trilogy I have never seen an apes film before. Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I don’t have any interest in seeing them, I just haven’t gotten around to them yet. There was just something about this apes film that caught my eye and I just had to see it and I absolutely fell in love with this iteration. Maybe you’re like me and get interested to revisit past films to see their origins or maybe you grew up only knowing this new version and don’t care for the originals. Either scenario is completely fine, you like what you like and that’s the beauty of film; it’s all subjective. Now when will I watch the originals? I have no idea, for now, I’m enjoying this trilogy as it’s fantastic and each film gets better and better. I give all the credit to mostly one person. Yes, I know it takes a village to make a film from treatment to final cut but, without this person, I don’t think this trilogy is beloved as it is. If you have seen this trilogy you know who I’m talking about, it’s hard not to. I’ll go into it later but for now, get your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!

Will Rodman and his team of scientists have been testing a new lucrative drug on chimpanzee’s that could essentially cure many diseases in humans including Alzheimer’s disease. The drug ALZ-112, when delivered to chimpanzee’s increases their intelligence which is a good sign to Will. During a presentation, to shareholders, Bright Eyes, the chimp who was given the drug, breaks out of her glass cage and goes on a rampage only to be shot down resulting in Will’s boss Steven Jacobs to terminate the project. Will’s assistant Robert Franklin discovers the reason for Bright Eye’s rampage; she was protecting her baby none of the scientists knew she had. Will takes the baby chimp home to where he takes care of his father who suffers from Alzheimer’s himself. Charles has been the motivation for Will to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease but also comes up with the baby chimp’s name, Caesar. Will discovers that Caesar has the ALZ-112 drug inside him that was passed down from his mother while Caesar was in the womb. Will decides to raise Caesar as his own to not only study but to protect him from being euthanized.

Three years have since passed and Caesar (Andy Serkis) has become highly intelligent as a result of being passed down the ALZ-112 drug. He can use sign-language and is able to draw pictures and play games. Will (James Franco) decides to steal the ALZ-112 to his father Charles (John Lithgow) and actually gets positive results. Will and Charles bring Caesar to a redwood forest for Caesar to explore and play. Back home, while Caesar is playing and swinging in his room, he sees a stranger making a lot of noise outside and decides he wants to go play. The stranger is actually Will’s neighbor who injures Caesar. Will takes Caesar to the Zoo to get checked out by the veterinarian who Caesar signs to Will that he should have dinner with. 5 years pass and Caesar is all grown up and back in the redwood forest with Will and Caroline (Freida Pinto) who have been in a relationship ever since Will brought Caesar to her. As they leave, they come across a couple with a German Shepard and Caesar questions if he is a pet. Charles’s condition gets worse over time and his Alzheimer’s is making its way back as he tries to drive a parked car that doesn’t belong to him but belongs to their aggressive neighbor Douglas Hunsiker (David Hewlett). Caesar goes to help Charles but attacks Douglas instead biting his finger.

Caesar gets taken away by animal control and Will has to give him up to a primate shelter run by John Landon (Brian Cox). Will starts testing a new drug ALZ-113 with the go ahead from his boss Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) on a new primate called Koba. During the drug trial, Will’s assistant Robert (Tyler Labine) becomes exposed to the drug which causes him to get deathly sick. Caesar and the rest of the primate’s in the shelter are getting abused by the caretaker Dodge Landon (Tom Felton) and Caesar recognizing that he is the smartest one there decides to band the primates together and become their leader. He than sneaks out of the shelter and steals the ALZ-112 to give to the rest of the primates in the shelter making them as smart as him. Caesar and the rest of the primates plan a breakout and kill Dodge on the process. Caesar leads the primates to the lab where Will used to work and frees the primates that that are being held while they head to their goal of the redwood forest rampaging through towns and having a final deadly stand-off with the police.

I adore this trilogy mainly because of Andy Serkis and his motion capture work. Caesar is absolutely breathtaking to watch as you forget that he’s even being played by an actor. Its incredible how lifelike Caesar comes off on screen just by the facial expressions alone and I have always admired the motion capture art and discipline. James Franco does a great job in this film as Will but there’s just something about how he delivers his lines for this character that is annoying to me. I’m not saying that as a bad thing, his character is very relatable. He has empathy for Caesar since he takes him in and wants to help people on a global level but can’t because of greed. He not only loses his father but his best friend (not saying pet because Caesar is not a pet). I mean how long is Will expecting Caesar to live with him and not have his animal instincts come out? If I were in Will’s shoes I think I would absolutely with no hesitation do the same thing with Caesar. Raise him as my own and care for him as if he were.

Tom Felton, hot off of playing one of the evilest little brats we could see on the big screen is playing the same kind of role. Well if Draco Malfoy didn’t have any magical blood he would be Dodge Landon. He’s insanely cruel to the primates as well as his co-worker. He almost has a god complex being the handler as his father is the head of the shelter. Someone like that should not be in charge of animals let alone complex ones like primates. Caesar banding all the primates together just proves how great of a leader he actually by the bridge scene alone. He genuinely wants a better life for his friends and will stop at nothing to achieve that. Although new to his leadership role, he’s a brilliant tactician and understands strategy more than most humans. Even with Caesar leaving his old life behind, he still shows compassion and brotherhood to Will in that final scene. It’s heartbreaking to watch Will say goodbye to his best friend, but he understands that his new life is best for Caesar.

I love the call back of the “Get your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape”. Even without seeing the originals, that line is widely popular and used in pop culture still. I appreciate that this trilogy is separated from the originals as well instead of them being a continuation. Remakes are always welcomed and if they suck, we still have the originals to love, this just happens to be my original trilogy. The thing I love about this trilogy and I’ll probably bring it up again, but I love how the focus is on the apes and how they just want to escape bondage. They just want to be free. This is Caesar’s movie as much as it is Will’s and because of their relationship Caesar is the leader that he is. This first film is a fantastic start in the right direction for this new apes trilogy and in my subjective opinion, each film gets better and better. I can’t wait to dig deeper into this brand new planet (pun intended) of the apes. If I were to rate Rise of the Planet of the Apes I’d rate it a 4.3 out of 5.

So, tell me guys, have you seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is directed by Rupert Wyatt is Rated PG-13 and has an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was released on August 5th, 2011 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes. Rise of the Planet of the Apes can be bought by online retailers such as Itunes and Vudu.

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