81. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Not as good as The Simpsons musical, but better than what you might think

8/10
Directed by: Rupert Wyatt
Written by: Rick Jaffa
Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis and Freida Pinto

While Rise of the Planet of the Apes could have been the overly dramatized and cheesy prequel that was to be expected, Rupert Wyatt and the team responsible for this origin story manage to make monkeys out of hasty critics and disbelievers who were too quick to judge Hollywood’s fine ability to fuck up prequels and sequels.

World domination requires drugs

Without giving too much weight to CGI action, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is as thoughtful and contemplative as its central monkey, Caesar, who is born with frightening intelligence as a manmade genetic reconstruction is passed down from his mother. As the tensions between science, technology and chimps raise questions of autonomy, humane treatment of animals and power struggles, ROPA takes a cleverly constructed sci-fi plot and gives it a compelling sense of pace and drama.

Despite the fact that the monkeys steal the show (and, of course, steal planet Earth much later on), it is their uncanny resemblance to our own human history and figures of power that make their rise so engaging. Through violence, intelligence, and a greater understanding of patterns and motives within the animal kingdom, ROPA surprises audiences with the levels of emotion, instinct and calculated sequencing of events.

So while audiences who are dragged to the film screaming “Get your paws off me you dirty ape!” may be turned off by the title, the poster and the trailer, it seems ROPA has saved its best assets for the onscreen experience, rather than marketing.

 

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