This past weekend we saw the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and I’m delighted to report that it was OUTSTANDING! In a world where movie reboots are popping out left and right, this was a perfect example of how to effectively start a franchise over again.
There’s a growing trend of “rebooting” a classic movie franchise with a new generation of actors, and a modernization of the original story. In some cases, I think it’s way too soon — why they’re already starting the Spider-Man franchise over again is beyond me — but this movie is a wonderful re-imagining of the series of films that started back in 1968.
In this new “prequel” to the Planet of the Apes concept, scientists are conducting clinical drug trials on chimpanzees in an effort to cure Alzheimer’s Disease. These drugs, intended to help repair damaged brain cells, end up creating highly intelligent primates over time… and of course, you probably have a pretty good idea where this story goes.
What made it so refreshing was that it stuck to the core concept of the original films, but provided a fresh view of how the world got there. Of course, like any good reboot, there were a few wink-and-a-nudge nods to the original, which I won’t give away… But observant fans of the Charlton Heston classic will find a few especially delightful moments hidden away in the screenplay.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes has a compelling story, riveting action sequences, dramatic emotional moments, pretty decent acting (though Andy Serkis steals every second of every scene as Caesar) and good pacing throughout. It’s cliché, but: I laughed, I clapped my hands over my mouth in shock, I jumped halfway out of my seat, and I even got a little teary-eyed in a place or two.
It was a legitimately grand movie, whether you loved the classic Planet of the Apes films or not, and I unabashedly recommend it.