Friday, August 5, 2011

Going to the movies: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I was eleven when Charlton Heston was captured by the apes. Unfortunately, he was unarmed at that moment.

Tonight, it's back to the big screen to see the prequel to Planet of the Apes. (I've added my review below.)

Randy’s Review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Right from the start you see a stark difference between the way actors play their parts in Rise of the Planet of the Apes compared with the original Planet of the Apes.

The walking, talking and behavior of the humans in this version is far better than Charleton Heston’s portrayal of a human in the 1968 movie. No one walks around in a loin cloth emoting epithets with a constant grimace. I suppose that was just Moses coming through.

This is a prequel to Planet of the Apes, which requires the writers to connect a few dots for us so we’ll say “Oh, so that’s how the head of the Statue of Liberty ended up poking out of the beach.” The principal ape character, Caesar, plays with a toy Statue of Liberty for about three seconds in one scene. Dots connected.

The writers did steal a line from the original Planet and gave it to the 20-something-year-old loser who works in the Alcatraz-like ape sanctuary: “Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape.” That line spoken by Heston’s character, Colonel George Taylor, shocked the ape onlookers because they had never heard a human talk. It gets the reverse treatment in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

You get the feeling that the producers ran out of money and/or time during the editing phase. There was a classic editing faux pas when one shot of a gorilla in a cage cut directly into another shot of the same gorilla, but the camera had “crossed the line,” creating very confusing back-to-back shots. You can read about crossing the line in any beginning filmmaking textbook.

Though I was totally entertained from beginning to end, the portions of the movie seemed odd. Most of the movie dealt with Caesar growing up, beating up the next door neighbor, and being sentenced to primate prison. Scenes of evil corporation scientists experimenting on helpless chimpanzees in an effort to make huge money for their shareholders and hide the proceeds in offshore banks while filing U.S. tax returns showing no profits were interjected from time to time.

The epic battle scene was pretty cool. Buck, the gorilla, turned out to be a hero. Then they all ran into the woods and everyone lived happily ever after. You get the feeling that an hour of film was left on the cutting room floor but there was no budget to trim down the first 90 minutes of the movie in order to come up with a better, more balanced ending. Real potential here for an uncut version on DVD.

All in all, a fun flick that will keep your attention from start to finish. By the way, don’t get up when the credits start. There is a last bit of dot connecting that you won’t want to miss.

Randy’s Rating: 3½ Bananas

1 comment:

  1. The trailer looks promising. Do post a review!


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