When I saw previews and trailers for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I for whatever reason had the feeling that it would be panned, despite the presence of James Franco. Maybe I had this feeling because I wasn’t such a huge fan of Tim Burton’s 2001 Planet of the Apes film that starred Mark Wahlberg.
Then I saw that Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a reboot of the series, was receiving a fair amount of critical claim and positive buzz. I suddenly became much more open to it and actually looked forward to seeing it, so I did so this weekend.
I would put this film in the moderately high echelon of the category of good, solid, (late) summer entertainment. It had everything you could ask of a summer blockbuster (to be fair, this really only includes action and a brisk pace), but it also had a decent plot, good acting (Franco never disappoints…except at the Oscars, according to most people), and an underlying (and sometimes overlying) message about the wrongs of animal testing.
Another of the film’s best aspects was the “performance” of Andy Serkis as Caesar, the ape Will Rodman (Franco) looked after. Serkis is known for his motion-capture performances, such as that of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings film series. He made Caesar the most intriguing character in the movie, and the one with whom audiences (or at least I) empathized with the most.