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"Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes" - {Blu-ray}- (Ed)
Reviewer:
Edward McNulty
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Genre:
Sci-Fi
Release Date:
December 13, 2011
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

Last summerís blockbuster appeals to the mind as well as pumps up our adrenalin. Director Rupert Wyattís origins tale (usually called a prequel) joins a long line of sci-fi cautionary tales, such as Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, The Fly, and Jurassic Park. Like the protagonist in those stories, genetic scientist Will Rodman (James Franco), working for a giant corporation in San Francisco, oversteps his bounds when he develops a serum to combat Alzheimer's disease and injects it into a laboratory chimpanzee.***

The serum so enhances the female chimpís cognitive performance that the projectís business director calls the major investors together to announce its development. However at that very moment the chimp goes berserk when a technician enters her cage. Attacking him and dashing out of her cage, she wreaks havoc in the lab and the corridors of the building, crashing through the boardroomís plate glass window and landing on the table. She would have attacked them had not the guards shot her dead. The director cancels the serum project and orders all the other animals destroyed, but then a newborn baby chimpanzee is discovered in the cage. It was not the serum, but the chimpís fear that harm was meant her infant that led to the attack.***

The director will not reconsider lifting his ban, so Will sneaks the baby chimp home along with some serum. He soon discovers that the altered genes of the mother have now been passed on to the infant Caesar, as he names the little one. The chimp develops his skills even faster than a human infant, As the months and then years pass, Caesar is able to think and communicate through signs better than any human child. The bonds of affection grow between him and Will, and then between chimp and Willís lover veterinarian, Caroline (Freida Pinto). When Alzheimerís threatens to strip Willís father Charles (John Lithgow) of all memory, the son sneaks some of the serum out of the storage vault and injects it into his parent. Charles improves dramatically, even able to return to what he once loved and taught, playing classical music on the piano.***

Of course, neither Caesar nor Charles continues on their upward path. When Caesar attacks a neighbor whom he believes is harming Charles, the authorities remove the chimpanzee to what is supposedly a primate shelter, but which is run by an indifferent director whose sadistic son Dodge Landon works there as a caregiver. Caesar is devastated by the separation and abuse, eventually believing that Will has abandoned him. How he seizes control of his destiny by taking over leadership of the captive primates and leads them in an all out war against the humans constitutes the second, more action-packed, portion of the film. One delightful incident in the film is when the primates rebel they attack the abusive Dodge, he shouts, ďGet your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!Ē Now where have we heard that before? (Back home Will also is dealing with the tragedy that his fatherís immune system has reacted against the serum so that the old disease has returned all the stronger.)***

What we might call the Battle for the Golden Gate Bridge is an exciting climax to the film. Here the use of CGI is very effective, with actor Andy Serkis (remember his Gollum in Lord of the Rings?) perhaps turning in the best performance of the film as Caesar. Indeed, all of the actors playing primates are excellent, their faces and eyes expressing so well the emotions welling up in them as the sadistic caregiver uses his electric cattle prod to inflect pain and fear on them. When the credits roll, do not leave right away, because a series of lines showing the path of an airliner will tell the tale of a calamity unwittingly overcoming humanity, and thus setting the stage for the sequel that is probably well along development for release next summer.***

Special Features:

Audio commentary by director Rupert Wyatt

Audio commentary by writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver

Deleted scenes

Behind the scenes featurettes: - Pre-vis for The Future

Capturing Caesar Ė Script to Screen

Studying the Genius of Andy Serkis

Multi-Angle: Rocket Cookie Scene

A New Generation of Apes

Breaking Motion Capture Boundaries

Breaking New Sound Barriers: The Music and Sound Design of Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Ape Facts featurettes:

"Chimpanzee"

"Gorilla"

"Orangutan"

Character concept art gallery

Three theatrical trailers

Final Words:

If ever there was a film that demonstrates that ill treatment, better, oppression, will lead to disaster for both inflictor and victim, this is it. The film raises ethical questions about the nature and treatment of primates, especially in the light of the Spanish government adopting a law making it a criminal offense to experiment or upon or abuse primates. Also the theme likelihood of unintended consequences is raised by that coda following the end credits.***

 

 
 
 
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