Guess who finally saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes?
Let me start by saying this:
I always forget how fucking powerful apes are. In my mind’s eye, apes are always cute, adorable, and baby sized, and frequently do adorable things that make for excellent Youtube videos.
I rarely ever picture apes ripping off people’s fingers or (spoiler alert) electrocuting Draco Malfoy with his own taser.
But, in Rise, you are forced to accept the fact that chimps are not playthings, and they do not always simply get up to adorable hi-jinx. Never once in this film does an ape ever eat a banana. It forces the viewer to accept the fact that apes, especially when enhanced with fancy future drugs, are wont to look like this:
So let’s start from the beginning:
James Franco stars as a doctor hell-bent on discovering the cure for Alzheimer’s. In real life, I would never trust James Franco in a laboratory. I don’t even trust him to host the Oscars without being blitzed out of his mind. In fact, if you go to your local Google search bar and start to type in “James Franco Oscars-” it immediately fills you in with “James Franco Oscars High.” The second hit is “James Franco Oscars Stoned.” The proof is in the pudding, people.
In my opinion, Franco is kind of the neutral guy in any film he’s in. He’s not bad– he’s very convincing. I’m just not going to stand up and applaud him.
Except there was one guy in the theater who kept trying to applaud everything. Every time the apes started to uprise, he would try and start a clap, and each attempt failed miserably. I wanted to turn to him and say “look, we’re at Planet of the Apes, you kind of signed up for a film about apes rising. Hold your applause for when James Franco gets mauled by a silverback gorilla.”
Which, he doesn’t. But you have to admit that would have made a cool ending.
Anyways, I digress.
So James Franco steals a baby chimp from the lab, the offspring of a chimp who had been tested on with a very fancy future drug. This future ape went batshit and lost James Franco’s company a lot of money, so they decide to put all of the other apes down. James Franco will have none of that shit, so he takes the baby ape for his own.
So Caesar grows up with Franco, his Alzheimer’s ridden dad, and the girl from Slumdog Millionaire. Eight years pass, and the characters mysteriously do not age. At all. Not even slightly. The only character that ages is Caesar the Chimp. James Franco doesn’t even change his hair style.
Caesar eventually finds himself emotionally lost and depressed. On public outings he must wear a leash, yet he is far more intelligent than any human child his age. He asks James Franco, through sign language, “Am I a pet?”
Franco says no, but of course the question still lingers. After Caesar violently lashes out at a neighbor who verbally assaults Franco’s Alzheimer’s Dad, he is court-ordered to live in an ‘ape sanctuary’ run by a fat guy and his son who is mysteriously Draco Malfoy.
Now, after recently having been hugged by The Dark Lord Voldemort, I thought that Tom Felton’s career had reached its’ climax.
I have nothing against Tom Felton, really. Only…he’s kind of ridiculous. That’s why he was so great as Malfoy. There is always that one kid in every school where you have to stop and go “really? this kid exists?”
But after playing an aryan, stuck-up, racist wizard who received an uncomfortable hug, what does one do next?
So, Tom Felton isn’t a bad actor. He’s just ludicrously ridiculous, and never quite seems to mesh with the tone of the film. He just comes off as an awkward asshole.
Anyways, after being tortured in an ape concentration camp for months, Caesar decides he has had enough. And if I say anymore, I will spoil the entire movie. And I don’t want to do that, because it was good. So here instead are some spoilers for some famous movies, including the original Planet of the Apes.
Now go to your local movie theater, pony up the twelve bucks and go see the movie right about now. Because as far as summer blockbusters go, this one has the most meat. It’s well filmed and interesting. It’s psychologically and almost scientifically compelling. And Andy Serkis is in it. That’s right, Gollum plays a Damn Dirty Ape.