Thursday, September 29, 2011

One Minute Movie Review: The Rise of The Planet of the Apes (2011)

In a world of reboots, remakes, and adaptations, this film is the definitive king of the jungle. It may be one of the best remakes of its time. It is certainley one of the best overall films of its time. A carefully crafted, seamless storyline that holds true to the groundbreaking original while still possessing the ability to add a new and unique twist to the tale.  This time replacing the fear of nuclear holocaust with a more prevalent threat predicted to cause human elimination. The story’s tapestry is woven effortlessly together adding landmark features of the original to a creative retelling of the mythology of the Apes franchise. John Lithgow's performance as Franco's father battling debilitating and terminal Alzheimer's is deep and emotional. The one and only downside to this movie is James Franco's dull and mechanical performance as the lead character (originally portrayed by Ricardo Montalban in the 3rd and 4th installments of the original franchise). He lacks the energy and wherewithal to pull off any of his dramatic encounters and seems to float through his scenes rather than leave an impact on them or the audience. Even worse is his romantic relationship, which has all the passion and emotion of cold bologna. In fact, you experience more connection and attachment with the CGI created apes than we do Franco. Andy Serkis (of Gollum fame) is the actor who portrays Caesar, and this is by far his best character role. Caesar demonstrates a depth and dimension that rivals flesh and blood actors on screen. The chemistry between Lithgow and Caesar and Caesar and the plethora of his CGI counterparts is moving, exciting, and engaging. This is remarkably reminiscent of what Cameron achieved with his groundbreaking film, Avatar. With that being said, the effects are the best yet, setting the standard for all those who will come after. They are fluid, natural, believable and are an engine to the story rather than just superficial paint and primping. This is a true compliment to the original and a tribute to what science fiction films were, story, substance, and morale tellers of modern times rather than blockbuster gimmicks and multimillion dollar vehicles for overrated action heroes. I don't know how they can continue without creating an update or retelling of the original. And if so will they fall into the same muck pit that Burton did with his awful remake. But if the same story talent that created this modern classic is at the helm as they may be able to surprise us all. 4 out of 5 Kernels; Heston, McDowall, and Dr. Ziaus would all be proud.

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