reviewthat: (Movies: I Love Movies)
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Movie: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Starring: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow and Andy Serkis.
Released Nationwide: August 5, 2011
Stars: 3 1/2

James Franco's character of Will is trying to create a cure for Alzheimer's disease by testing a genetically engineered retrovirus on chimpanzees so that he can help his father (who suffers from the disease). The retrovirus gives the chimps increased intelligence, and after the chimp that seems to show the most improvement in intellect goes on a rampage after believing that her baby was threatened, the project is scrapped. Will takes the baby chimp home and raises him in secret, discovering that the increased intellect was passed on to the baby (which is named Caesar). Caesar soon becomes part of the family, and years later (after the retrovirus proves to no longer be effective), Caesar attempts to protect Will's father from perceived danger. Because of this, Caesar is forced to live in a primate sanctuary, and while there he becomes a dominant force amongst the other primates. He soon figures out how to free himself from his cage, as well as from the facility, and he gets a hold of a newer, more powerful version of the antivirus. After exposing the other primates to an airborne form, he attempts to free them all from their prison.

I suspected that I wouldn't care for this movie all that much, partly because I'm not really a Planet of the Apes ... and partly because I'm not overly fond of James Franco. But I came out of it thinking that it was much better than I feared that it might be.

Yes, the effects were fantastic, but thankfully, that wasn't really was the movie was all about (like some movies seem to be ... where they're only flashy, but they have no substance to them). I found it rather interesting that the thing that will ultimately lead to humanity's downfall began as an act of compassion for an ailing father (and that to help that loved father, humans had to do awful things to animals, which eventually led to an antivirus that was deadly to humans). What's even more fantastic was the fact that the people involved with the film managed to show how much humanity can shoot itself in the foot, without coming across overly preachy. Without that domineering, overpowering allegory, the filmmakers were able to create a situation where people come away from the film actually thinking about what is (or might) happen.

This one is worth checking out in at least a matinee format.
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December 2011


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