Monday, August 8, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

is, to my surprise, a genuinely good movie. I'm not alone in this opinion, as its 82% fresh critic rating and 90% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes shows.

What surprised me about this film is how different it is from what its trailer suggests. The trailer I saw basically portrayed an action film, but that's not what this one is; it's a character piece with moments of action and a long action sequence at the end.

What surprised me more is that it's a character-driven film in which almost all the performances are so-so at best. James Franco is completely adequate but no more in the lead role. Freida Pinto is stunningly gorgeous and does what she can with her lines, but the writing for her lacks any depth. The best of the human characters comes from John Lithgow as Franco's dad.

What made this movie for me was the performance--and special effects--of Andy Serkis as Caesar, the ape who leads a revolution. The combination of the motion-capture from him and the CG yielded easily the most interesting and touching performance in the film.

If you are a fan of the original Planet of the Apes movies, you know in broad brush everything that's going to happen, as I did--but it won't ruin the film for you. If you don't know the prior flicks, just go and enjoy the ride.

Either way, check out this one.

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