Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)


You could make the argument that there was no summer movie that I wanted to see more than Rise of the Planet of the Apes because no other movie I’ve seen in a summer involved such preparation. Before watching this movie, I coincidentally came across a very good price of $38 for the original 5 Planet of the Apes movies and decided to buy them, then proceeded to bomb through all of them within 2 days. Also throwing in there the Tim Burton remake with the strangely attractive Helena Bonham Carter ape. So I decided today was the day to witness the Rise.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes – or, for brevity’s sake, Rise of Monkey Town – includes James Franco (with both arms), Brian Cox (who can not be held down by Wolverine’s claws or Magneto’s chains), and Tom Felton (You’d like that, wouldn’t you, Potter?). I say includes because, let’s face it, the star is the monkey named Caesar. Franco is a geneticist trying to cure his father (John Lithgow) from his Alzheimer’s disease. He invents something that reanimates the brain and tries it on some monkeys. He first tries it on Bright Eyes who shows considerable improvement, but then she goes ape-shit (pun intended) and has to be put down with extreme prejudice. As the drunk dude from Zak and Miri Make a Porno is being forced to put down all the apes they tested on, they find that Bright Eyes went ape-shit because she was protecting her baby, later to be Caesar. Unable to put down the baby, Franco takes him in, only to find out that the drug has affected the baby and it’s smart. Over the ensuing years, he teaches Caesar sign language and Caesar gets smarter and smarter.

Now, it should come as no surprise that eventually the apes break free of their shackles and head towards their inevitable dominion over man. If that’s a surprise, then you probably know nothing of the series and probably won’t be seeing this anyway. They don’t quite take over, but Caesar gets locked up in a habitat where Draco Malfoy tortures the other apes ’cause he’s a jerk-face. Caesar don’t like that. He retaliates by making all the other monkey’s smart, breaking free, laying a whooping on man, and taking to the forest. Also, he makes people render unto him the things that are his, and probably gets stabbed 30-something times shortly after the movie. Et tu, Green Goblin?

So one of the things I heard about this movie beforehand is that it breaks with continuity, which I say it does and it doesn’t. Granted, it does not follow the story of the 4th movie in the series which is kind of where this part of the story would be happening. To give a brief recap: 1) Heston lands, captured by talking monkeys, turns out it’s earth year 3800, OH NO! 2) Other guy lands, finds Heston, mutated people pray to a bomb, set that bitch off, OH NO! 3) Turns out 3 friendly chimps got off the planet, go back in time to human times, turns out girl’s preggers, humans think this will lead to humanity’s end, kill parents, baby lives on, OH NO! 4) Baby now grown up, called Caesar, already talks, gets mad, takes over, OH NO! 5) Last of humans gets all pissy with fairly peaceful apes, start fight, lose, OH NO! 1 – Remake) Screw up all of that stuff. There, now we’re up to speed. So, obviously the monkey doesn’t already talk, doesn’t come from future apes that can talk, etc. But in the 3rd movie, when the dad is telling about how apes rose up, they talked about how the first ape was super smart, kept getting beaten by man and ordered around by man, but then finally said the first words ape spoke, which was “NO”. That story is basically how it happens in this movie. So it follows 3rd movie continuity, but parts from 4th movie continuity. And I’m okay with it.

Another good thing about this is the fan service in the movie, the things you’d notice if you had just recently watched all 6 other movies. Bright Eyes is what one of the apes calls Heston, there’s background story about a rocket getting launched and going missing, of course “Get your hands off me you” yada yada yada is in it. I like these things. Makes you feel special for catching on. Problem of course being if I were to look it up now, I’ve probably missed about 107 more things.

There really wasn’t that much bad in the movie. I liked all of the acting well enough, even the acting of the apes, but the apes were pretty obviously CGI, though better than the young Jeff Bridges abortion in Tron Evolution. Other than that, I don’t have a lot of bad to this movie. At least nothing that stuck in my over tired brain long enough to make it home and write this. I apologize in advance if it’s not as funny as when I tear apart a bad movie; I can’t help that this movie was good. But worry not, I RedBoxed Priest. Coming soon!

Pay the money, see this shit … out of 20 …