Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes


PG-13 for intense and frightening sequences of action and violence.
Genre: Action, adventure, drama, science fiction, fantasy
Running Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

A genetically engineered chimp named Caesar is created in a San Francisco lab by an ambitious father-son scientist team. But, this single action of compassion leads to a war unlike any seen before. The powerful intellect of one ape, leads to the Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

What started out as a way to help humankind, especially the scientists father, could end up destroying mankind if the apes have their way. Going from a group of apes refusing to work together, Caesar becomes their leader and before long they’re working together as a team. Not only do they plan to escape from their cages, but they also plan to take revenge on a few people who have abused them in the lab.

Those being kept – could soon become the keepers themselves.

Really – Do We Really Need Another Planet of the Apes?

Cornelius & Dr. Zaius from Planet of the Apes

Image via Wikipedia

Every time I saw this trailer before the release of the movie that was the one phrase that kept going through mind – Really? Do we really need another planet of the apes movie? Is there truly nothing new Hollywood can come up with? Is the entertainment industry so void of creativity that writers can only dust off old movies in an attempt to re-invent them?

The main players in this attempt to re-invent the Planet of the Apes franchise are notable. But they’re over-shadowed by director Rupert Wyatt’s fascination with CGI.

Caeser, played by Andy Serkis, along with John Lithgow and James Franco put in admirable performances in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. As the writers work at re-introducing what was at best a cult phenomenon in the past, we discover the location for this prequel moved to earth. Instead of astronauts flying to some far-flung planet, Rise of the Planet of the Apes originates in present day San Francisco where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

Of course this is also where we see the hints of a political agenda behind this movie too. 

Time and time again through the movie we keep hearing the recurring theme of “some things are best left alone”. But it doesn’t end there. On the surface some may think Rise of the Planet of the Apes is about evolution. But such is not the case. Instead this movie is more about the cruelty of animal testing, in particular, the testing of apes. Whether you believe such testing is right or wrong, as a movie critic I simply do not like it when the entertainment world decides to make a political statement instead of sticking with entertainment. I know every single movie makes some kind of a statement about something. But when the agenda is so blatantly pushed, I personally believe a line is crossed.

Lost In CGI Special Effects

For the most part – putting aside the political agenda – I did enjoy Rise of the Planet of the Apes. However, even though it grabbed the number one box office spot for its debut weekend, I believe this attempt to revitalize the Apes  franchise will fall into the category of cult status once again. Watching the growth of Caesar was fun but any attempt at a story line gets lost with a fascination toward ape CGI. Time and time again this slightly less than 2 hour movie comes to a screeching halt consumed with viewer boredom as those involved seemed more interested in making the apes move than anything else. While in the beginning the CGI of the apes was fascinating, the movie drags through what at times becomes extra-baggage that should have been left on the editing room floor.

When it comes to rating, I did waffle back and forth on how to categorize Rise of the Planet of the Apes. With a PG-13 rating it’s right on the edge of cautionary family-friendly and not family-friendly. I settled on cautionary family-friendly simply because this is a fun movie for parents who remember the original to take their kids to. Keep in mind though, this is for the 13 and above crowd. I know for me it was a nice flashback in time to the original Planet of the Apes movies. It even includes the line made famous by Charlton Heston too.

Cautiously enjoy the show!

Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.