It’s been 10 long years since the last Planet of The Apes movie. We’re not sure if anyone else remembers but we thought the whole Mark Wahlberg romancing the female apes (Helena Bonham Carter and Estella Warren) was the strangest thing we’d seen. On hindsight though, it IS a Tim Burton movie after all. Weird stuff always happens when it comes to Tim…even more so when his equally erratic muse is involved.
Rise of The Planet of The Apes (really doesn’t roll off the tongue, doesn’t it?) isn’t a sequel to the 2001 remake. Even though that movie was a financial success, a sequel was passed on by studio execs. When asked about possibly doing that sequel, Tim Burton famously replied, “I’d rather jump out a window.” So, a decade later, we have a new Apes reboot.
The one thing with this movie that stands out to me is that they’re actually trying to take the franchise elsewhere. Whereas the 2001 remake stayed faithful to the original movie in terms of plot, Rise appears to be moving towards a typical Sci-Fi plot; humans create them, they get smart, we say wow, they start getting too smart, we take hostile action and an uprising occurs. Think of it as I. Robot, with less cybernetics and more bio-engineering. Whether this storyline will work remains anybody’s guess but we appreciate the effort in moving away from that same “captured by apes on their planet” story. There was a collective groan when Terminator 3 was announced with yet another time travel plot (not to mention they changed Judgment Day!). The new plot isn’t terribly creative either, but it’s much better than the thought of seeing the same exact movie with some small change in it. (See the Rise of The Planet of The Apes movie stills)
While we’re huge James Franco fans, we’re not entirely sure of his role in the film. He seems to be here just as a plot device to show Caesar’s (the ape) growth and eventual betrayal of by the humans. Maybe we’ll empathize with him more in later trailers if they show him on his possible quest for redemption. But for now, Caesar seems to be more of the central character. His interactions with John Lithgow were particularly heartwarming. Here’s to more of Caesar and his fellow apes to run riot on the city! As a side note, Caesar is played by… who else but mocap veteran Andy Serkis?
The verdict? As of right now, Rise is already a tantalizing product even with what little we know. The Apes look hyper-realistic, and at the heart of it is a decent story of a revolution born from acceptance and subsequent rejection. We’re keeping it on our must watch list for now.