Directed By: Rupert Wyatt
Written By: Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
I specifically remember getting mad about this movie before ever seeing it. I remember following the production, as I do with so many films, and I remembered when it changed from simply being an original film and into a Planet of the Apes film. That disappointed me as the trend was beginning to emerge wherein nothing seemed willing to try unless it could tie itself to an older successful franchise. We are fully into the era of remakes and reboots now and I hate it. I considered the switch in direction of this film and the assimilation it sought into a successful franchise as a cop out. It does not sit next to the original film in my collection simply because it does not belong there. Planet of the Apes was an awesome franchise that needed to be left alone and shouldn’t be touched again after the terrible effort by Tim Burton almost 15 years ago. I see this movie and franchise as an altogether different thing and see its intentional effort to include itself as simply a marketing ploy to make more money.
After seeing the film for the first time I found that I enjoyed it so much I was only more frustrated by the efforts to make it a psuedo reboot. Simply because it didn’t need to do that. It’s a good movie and good enough to stand on its own. There are certain similarities it bears to the original story but that does not make it the same. I have and will always say it is ridiculous to remake or reboot Cold War themed films. The conflict is gone and over and the movies that were about it don’t have any context to be remade today. Whether it’s a movie about high school youths who suddenly have to defend themselves from invasion (Red Dawn) or a film about the consequences of self imposed destruction by fighting one another with doomsday weapons. The reality of that situation does not exist today and remakes about the situations do not translate. This movie however is neither a remake or a reboot despite what the title suggests.
This movie has its own social problem the story revolves around. An important one at that being the search for a cure or treatment for Alzheimers. Such a wicked disease is the one that robs us of the very thing that makes us who we are. It is even worse for those who love the afflicted. The husbands and wives who have to watch their spouses deteriorate and disappear after decades of union. It’s an illness that has been around forever but even today there is not enough effort being made to combat or cure the disease. If nothing else this movie is great for bringing more awareness to a problem that needs more money and more research.
This movie has a really good story and excellent special effects. Andy Serkis is an incredibly talented one of a kind actor. I love this franchise because it gives him the opportunity to display his exceptional skills performing in a motion capture suit. The next generation of actors that utilizes technology more and more will turn to the efforts of Andy Serkis when they study their art. Serkis in this movie works his magic in the suit as Caesar. These movements came easy to him this time around because he performed as an ape before in Peter Jackson’s King Kong. The rest of the cast is good enough. The only other one I’d deign to mention would be John Lithgow. Watching a second of his films in a row is a rare opportunity and it’s interesting because the roles are so different. Of course he is great in both of them because he is such an exceptional actor.
There are scenes in this movie that echo the original Planet of the Apes franchise but I remember reading somewhere along the way that they did that in re-shoots after production had wrapped. I could be wrong about that but it is the impression I have been under for 5 years and I stubbornly hold onto the idea. I think this movie is great, so long as it is separate and its own thing away from the original franchise. I think this story of one genetically mutated ape building and leading an uprising is really cool. I read somewhere that in the original ending James Franco was supposed to die but they changed it at the last minute. I actually think that might have made for a better ending to the movie but the movie is just fine the way it is.
This movie is a really cool start to an ongoing franchise that has plenty of potential to end well with a third film. The film builds a powerful story while setting up the sequel along the way. If you haven’t seen it you are missing out on a fun franchise. This movie is easily worth your time to see.
NEXT MOVIE: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)