RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES…
THE SURPRISE OF THE SUMMER!
Long title aside, I think a lot of moviegoers out there pegged this Planet of the Apes reboot as a passable August dump. Then we started getting more and more information and clips from the film and people started paying attention. I’ll be the first to admit that I had classified Apes as a ‘wait for video’ movie. But the more I saw, the more my mind swayed. Andy Serkis’ motion capture performance is packed with subtleties and emotion that really sold me on the film. In particular, it was this clip that put me over the top and made Rise of the Planet of the Apes one of my must see summer movies:
It’s almost as if the filmmakers said:
“I know the last reboot sucked but trust us. This movie will fascinate you.”
There’s nothing better than a promise kept.
THIS IS CEASAR’S STORY
Andy Serkis put it perfectly in the clip. This is the first movie that truly relies on the performance of a CG creation. Making a movie about Apes taking over the planet has been done. But making a movie about ONE Ape’s emotional journey has not. Ceasar’s story is as fascinating as it gets. I have to commend the screenwriter and director for building in so many quiet moments where Ceasar’s behavior alone is enough to keep us interested. There are tons of sequences in the film with no dialogue at all and yet you know exactly what Ceasar and his primate friends are thinking.
Of course none of these scripted moments would be effective without the absolutely incredible performance of Andy Serkis. I’m completely on board with the inevitable Oscar push for a best actor nomination. Forget all about the performance capture technology for a moment. You can see it in his eyes. It’s a remarkable achievement across the board. I’m not going to say that it’s a slam dunk victory with plenty more yet to come this year but a best actor nomination in addition to visual effects should be guaranteed.
It’s that good.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is all about character. Ceasar’s evolution is handled with care and the filmmakers took their time with his story. I truly wasn’t expecting such a deconstruction of Ceasar’s mind as he comes to terms with his place in a human world and subsequent rise against it. It’s not spoon fed to audiences, it’s clear by the look on his face when he looks at a leash.
This movie is easily the surprise of the summer. I loved Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Except the title. The simpler Rise of the Apes was better. I’m sure marketing wanted a connection to the original franchise but it worked for The Dark Knight didn’t it?