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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) - Monkeying Around with Morality

Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5/5 Stars)

Released 08-05-2011

Watched 03-09-2024

Reviewed 03-14-2024

Rented from iTunes

"Take your stinking paw off me, you damn dirty ape!"

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is a gripping prequel to the classic science fiction franchise, offering a fresh perspective on the origins of the iconic conflict between humans and intelligent apes. Directed by Rupert Wyatt, the film boasts impressive visual effects and a compelling performance by Andy Serkis as Caesar, the revolutionary chimpanzee.

One of the strongest aspects of the film is its exploration of the ethical implications of scientific experimentation. Through the character of Will Rodman, played by James Franco, the audience is invited to question the morality of using animals for human gain. The narrative effectively portrays the gradual evolution of Caesar's intelligence and his eventual rebellion against human oppression, raising thought-provoking questions about the consequences of playing with nature.

The motion-capture technology used to bring the apes to life is nothing short of extraordinary. Andy Serkis's portrayal of Caesar is particularly noteworthy, capturing both the character's physicality and emotional depth. The apes' nuanced expressions and gestures convey a range of emotions, drawing the audience into their plight and making them empathize with their struggle for freedom.

The action sequences in the film are exhilarating and well-executed, especially during the climactic showdown on the Golden Gate Bridge. The intensity of the conflict between humans and apes is palpable, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats until the very end. Additionally, the film's pacing is brisk, ensuring that there is never a dull moment as the story unfolds.

However, despite its many strengths, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" falls short in some areas. The human characters, with the exception of Will Rodman, feel underdeveloped and lacking in depth. The antagonist, portrayed by David Oyelowo, comes across as one-dimensional and clichéd, detracting from the overall impact of the film.

Furthermore, while the film raises important ethical questions, it occasionally feels preachy in its messaging, sacrificing subtlety for overt commentary on animal rights and environmentalism. This heavy-handed approach may alienate some viewers who prefer a more nuanced exploration of complex themes.

In conclusion, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is a visually stunning and thought-provoking addition to the franchise, with standout performances and thrilling action sequences. While it may stumble in its characterization and thematic execution at times, it ultimately succeeds in delivering an entertaining and engaging cinematic experience.

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