10 Questions about the new Planet of the Apes

Is Rise of the Planet of the Apes any good? Yes. It’s a really great entertaining film. It has absolutely no dull bits, a strong story (albeit a familiar one) and great but not intrusive CGI.

Is it related to the previous Planet of the Apes films? Not directly. It doesn’t really sit in the same timeline as the original 60s/70s films. It’s definitely unrelated to the abysmal Tim Burton version of recent years. By the way, Tim Burton is incredibly overrated, isn’t he? Just needed to say that. You certainly don’t have to have seen any of the previous Apes films to enjoy this one.

Is it suitable for kids? I think it’s a 12A so it’s maybe a bit strong for very young ones but there’s no extreme violence, no swearing, no sex and no nudity (not even a bright red ape arse!!)

How does it compare to other recent so called blockbuster movies? Vastly superior. It is far better written, directed (Rupert Wyatt), scored and acted than any of this summer’s big releases. It makes Transformers 4 and  X-Men First Class look like pathetic, bodged, plotless video games. The only other film that has come close to this one is Super 8.

Are the actors any good? Not bad. There’s not that much for them to do as the focus is on Caesar the chimpanzee. James Franco is pretty good as the main human character although there’s not that much character to play (Franco is much better used in 127 Hours), Freda Pinto has even less to do with only one interesting moment that I can think of (acting as a decoy in the bridge scene), John Lithgow gets the best deal as the Alzheimer suffering father, Brian Cox has clearly emailed his mildly sinister performance in, leaving Tom Felton and David Oyelowo to do ridiculous pantomime villain acts. Basically it’s all OK but you’re not there for that anyway.

Is the CGI really that good? It’s some of the best and most natural I’ve seen. I still don’t like CGI though. You can always, ALWAYS tell it’s CGI. Here, it’s OK because the film is strong enough to distract you from constantly thinking ‘mmm that’s CGI’.

What’s the best bit? The finale is really breathtaking and all the more effective because the film has a proper narrative structure and isn’t just one big battle scene. You care about the characters by that point, especially the apes. Also, must mention the music by Patrick Doyle; it’s completely brilliant.

What’s the worst bit? The bit where Caesar asks the girl out to dinner with James Franco; Vomit City!! Also, the stock businessman baddie character; lazy, lazy…

Does it make any moral/ethical points? I suppose it’s saying experimenting on animals is pretty rubbish but it doesn’t ram that down your throat. It’s arguing for strict control of testing I suppose. It’s really just an entertainment though.

Is there going to be a sequel? I’d say unquestionably, yes. Make sure you don’t leave the cinema straight away when the titles come up as there’s an extra sequence which will convince you even further that a follow-up is on the cards although maybe not with any of the original human cast.

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19 thoughts on “10 Questions about the new Planet of the Apes

  1. i kind of wanted to see this movie, and hearing that the CGI wasn’t awful has definitely made me want to see it even more! ~ i also cracked up at the “apes arse” line. thanks for the review. haha

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    1. It was so good it really stood out, didn’t it? Made a real difference to the movie. Thanks for reading. Hope youll come back, maybe even subscribe? I need more subscribers!

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  2. Still haven’t seen the original, but enjoyed your review of Rise! Hoping to see that one soon.

    I agree about Tim Burton. Somewhere in the drafts section of my blog is a piece about how he’s lost his touch as a director. I liked his earlier movies–Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands–well enough, but his recent films have failed to interest me. I loathed Alice in Wonderland.

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    1. Hello Gregory. Fair point. Actually, though, seeing poor remakes might actually, by comparison, increase the stature of the original in my mind. This certainly happened when I saw the Tim Burton abomination. It does give you a big ache of disappointment however. In this case I wasn’t at all disappointed but actually quite excited even though the 1968 is still by far the best in my book. Go on, take a chance. I’d actually be fascinated to read your review.

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  3. After that blatant appeal to my vanity I have no choice. I’ll leave it a week or two though Jon, last night I dragged out Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, my #1 in the series, and it was so marvelously, memorably bad that I’ll need to let the memory subside.
    Glory be to the Bomb, and to the Holy Fallout…

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  4. Okay, I saw Rise today, and for me, it did not. I can’t help comparing it to Beneath TPOTA from forty years ago. Beneath took a mocking swipe at Establishment (messed-up bomb worshippers with ghastly hymns) and counterculture (Chimps staging pointless and easily foiled street protest) alike.
    I had some fun spotting the references to the original series, which thankfully didn’t feel as forced as the equivalent moments in Star Wars Ep 3. Overall, though, Jon, I think Rise took itself too seriously. Interesting, but in the end not very entertaining. Speaking of the end… if that was meant to signify some sort of triumph…
    In Washington the news of the ape revolt is received with utmost urgency. Within twenty-hour hours the President is addressing the populace.
    “Once again we confront a threat cooked up by the hubristic folly of modern science. The mutated apes which have commandeered the park in California are a menace to the human species in general and the United States in most particular. My fellow Americans, let me assure you: steps have been taken to eradicate this menace, swiftly and decisively.”
    Caesar and his companions look up from their foraging as a distant whine becomes a deafening shriek from the skies. A rain descends upon the forest and then all is obliterated in the orange blossom of napalm.
    No hope of escape or survival. “Say goodnight you simian abominations,” the flight leader snarls through gritted teeth. Circling back over the bay he looks down. His eyes narrow in disgust. San Francisco, haven to every filthy sort of godless drug abusing deviant on the face of the earth.
    His second in command can guess his thoughts. “I’ve still got half my load Skipper.”
    The other pilots chime in. “Me too.” ‘Likewise here, sir.”
    The flight leader takes another pass over the incinerated forest. Cleansing flame, sweeping away the contamination.
    “Tell me, boys – what’s the difference between a barbecued ape and a barbecued hippie?”
    The men answer as one.
    “Sir! Nothing, Sir!”

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    1. Thanks for the review Gregory. Sorry to hear you didn’t find it entertaining. I thought that if there was one thing it scored highly on it was entertainment value at the expense of the more serious philosophical stuff as contained in the original. Dare I ask whether you’ve seen any of this Summer’s other big blockbusters? I have and they make Rise seem like Citizen Kane!!!! All the best to you!

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  5. I saw Captain America, and thought that was a pretty good effort all round. Transformers? I paid good money to see the first, and haven’t yet forgiven myself for that. Apart from the movies I saw at Rev (which I haven’t yet reviewed two months later!) I’ve been avoiding the cinemas and staying home. (Two titles to look for at the video hire: Cypher, starring Jeremy Northam, and Mr Brooks with Kevin Costner).
    We seem to have a Planet of the Apes generation gap here. I would say the earlier ones were more entertainment and less philosophy, and you see it the other way round. Interesting!

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    1. haha yes I think I got most of the refs (who could miss the damn dirty apes one?!). My fave nod to the past was the glimpse of the Icarus spaceship (Taylor’s).

      I watched the original again after Rise and there seemed to be a lot of long scenes of talking about man’s place relative to animals in the world (all that about the Lawgiver etc) and then that iconic ending… Rise seemed more action based.

      Haven’t seen Captain America; even the title irritates me. Transformers 1st Class is an excellent cure for insomnia. I just thought Rise seemed a little less moronic.

      PS have noted Cypher and Mr Brooks recommendations. Good talkin to you.

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