Sunday, August 7, 2011

So I Saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes

More internet notoriety! This website that sells shirts with pop-culture stuff on them hired me to write some descriptions for them. The bottom paragraphs is mine. Now you too can know what the heck “How to Make it in America” is about.

This is the last major movie I planned on seeing this summer so luckily it’s pretty good.

Quick plot synopsis: So there are like all these earthquakes happening and no one knows why and it starts off as like a disaster movie. Suddenly, a whole entire, other planet filled with hyper-intelligent chimps rises out of the Earth’s crust hence the title The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Okay no, it’s actually about the metaphorical rise of hyper-intelligent chimps led by the revolutionary Caesar, (Andy Serkis a.k.a. Gollum cannot get enough praise for his motion capture performance) paving the way for a new Planet of the Apes series since the original five circle back on themselves and the Tim Burton remake is just awful, even though I don’t quite remember it being that awful. Probably because I went as Tim Roth's villainous chimp general for Halloween in 3rd grade.

At first I was a little disappointed to hear the apes were all CGI since the one thing the remake had going for it was spectacular make-up. But by that point the apes had evolved to these humanoid things. Here they’re just straight-up apes so it makes since. Also, the work WETA has created here easily rivals what Rick Baker did for that film in terms of immaculate attention to detail. The fact that an all CGI character is so expressive and relatable that he is essentially the star of the movie is a triumph for the medium. It opens up a boatload of new possibilities like say a Transformers movie with no humans. The body language and facial expression remind me of WALL-E in a way.

This happens
Also, for a movie that sets up the downfall of humanity it doesn’t end with the sense of doom you might expect. Still, the idea of a super smart chimp with a knife is moderately horrifying, and on horseback no less. Also, even though there is only gorilla and one orangutan they’re each kind of a big deal. It’s one of several, subtle but appreciated callbacks to the original movies. Yeah all the nuclear war stuff got dropped in favor of animal testing and whatnot but it’s not preachy and the drama works. The end action is more like a bonus.

For those of you like me who realize that guns>monkeys, the film smartly sidesteps this by giving both sides a reason to avoid outright murdering each other. Plus the apes only really fight a group of cops on a bridge, not the army. San Francisco cops at that.

The human cast is fine but not really the point. John Lithgow is touching while Freida Pinto is aggressively unnecessary. David Oyelowo’s whole dialogue is basically, “money, money, money” and Draco Malfoy is in it as a villain because what else.


Sorry to say it but he’s basically playing it straight. And not even like so straight that it turns back into bizarre irony. He’s just playing a scientist. As a firm believer that his performance at the 2011 Oscars was by far the most entertaining thing the show has ever done, I found this disappointing.
Studied at Columbia and Yale

Oh well, I’ll just wait for his documentary about his making of a play about himself making a play.

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