Friday, February 14, 2014

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (2011)

Rise is technically flashy, science fiction-y plausible, and entertainingly constructed with excitement, emotion, and action all coming at exactly the right place. And yet, it lacks something of the weight of the original. Perhaps it is due to the level of CG that makes it just a step above “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.” That being said, those old Ape make-up effects were pretty bad too. But at least they felt like they were actually there.

I think the real problem with all these stories that deal with the origin of things is that they start right out removing all of the mystery and magic. Part of the genius of the original Apes—in addition to all the social commentary—was the fact that we weren’t sure how things had gotten the way they had. Even when they went back and revealed the origins, it was in the context of what had come before. (By the way, this is why I also advocate reading “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” BEFORE “The Magician’s Nephew. If you do it the other way, you are doing it wrong!)

But it is the commentary that gives the Apes movies their reason for being, and this new effort has some good things to say about science, responsibility, limitations, ethics, and treating others—especially those “lower” than us—the right way. I am looking forward to the sequel later this year.

For thoughts on the other Apes films, see here.

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