Movie Discussion: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Once again we’re revisiting the franchise that drove everyone ape
made a monkey out of box-office predictions
singed the competition
really earned investors their silver back
was a darn big hit in the late 60s/ early 70s.

Does the new film damn its summer competition all to hell, or should Hollywood just take its stinking paws off and do something new?

6 replies on “Movie Discussion: Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

    • That’s not a very high bar.

      Although that move was ok until the last 5 minutes, it had one of the worst final scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie. The final scene destroyed everything about that move and elevated it to “utter crap” for me.

  1. Well, since everybody is just falling all over themselves here to discuss POTA, I’ll add my experience of actually seeing the movie….

    It was not as good as it could have been but about as good as you could expect in today’s brain-dead entertainment-oriented movie environment. Every single human in the movie was typecast and painfully one dimensional with zero introspection in what is supposed to be a deeply philosophical franchise. Major fail right there. I mean, the original POTA series from 1968-1973, cheesy as it was, was at its core about deep time and destiny and extinction and evolution and nuclear war and social rights and check-and-balance government and even religion. Movie audiences cared about stuff like that back then, and were willing to elevate some ridiculous drive-in B flicks into a cultural icon remembered fondly decades later solely because it had more than ape masks on actors. Today, apparently, not so much. Sigh.

    Sadly, the most believable was John Lithgow who plays an Alzheimer patient who is forgetting how to be the man he was – certainly a potenial for commentary and philosophy and theme given the nature of this tale, but trust me, any possibility of subtle thought in this scrambled omlette of ideas is totally accidental.

    The plot was totally connect-the-dot-around-the-logical holes. The worst one of these is where the hell did all of these apes come from for the final act? We go from a dozen or so at a shelter to an army on the Golden Gate Bridge. Yeah, we swung thru the zoo on the way there, but no zoo has that many primates, and the shelter apes didn’t have any gene therapy gas left at that point, so they couldn’t have transformed zoo animals into recruits, so how…nevermind. Pass the popcorn. Look, mommy, just how little blood that point blank machine gun fire from a police squad yields. Munch munch munch. Poor gorilla.

    Fortunately, Caesar was quite believable, on three levels: motion acting, CGI, and character development. He is the ONLY reason all is not lost in both for the story on the screen and for the studio that put out this so-close-to-drek. He is an ape to root for in a movie that literally highlights him in the sunset.

    While we root for the apes from the get go, there is no dignity of man here. The “damn dirty ape” throwaway quote, lost on most moviegoers, is uttered by a guy we are literally booing. Even the fall of man is handled as a throwaway scene after the credits. And ultimately, that is where the heart of this movie has a void.

    I would argue that in the “true, traditional” POTA experience, we have to start out as viewers being human and rooting for the humans to ultimately feel and mourn the loss of our own civilization. The apes emotionally have to gain our grudging respect as our successors for their story to resonate. None of that angle exists here. Humanity is depicted as the get go as a lost cause we don’t care about, the subconscious feeling we have about the nightly news nowdays. On CNN, burn London burn! In the theatres, Go apes! Pass the popcorn!

    All spectacle, no introspection. Art imitating our current life.

    At least the film is doing so well that a sequal is all but assured. And the seeds for such were planted – just what DID happen to that Mars mission that was apparently lost according to all of the cable news channel screens in the background of numerous scenes? Hmmm…..

    • After reflecting upon the geography of San Francisco, the movie highlights Caesar in the “sunrise” instead of the “sunset”. Appropriate, of course…dare I even say subtle? Nah, can’t be…

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