Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Photo-realistic apes play an integral part, for the first time in the franchise.

At the onset, a couple of myths need to be dispelled. ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is not a prequel to the 1968 original, nor is it a remake of the ‘Conquest of the Apes’; it is, however, a “reboot”, if you will, to the ‘Planet of the Apes’ franchise as the timelines will lack continuity with respect to the previous films. The film is not based on any specific plotline from the original series, but takes elements from the earlier movies to create an original origin story. Said Fox Filmed Entertainment CEO Tom Rothman, “This is a kind of prequel story before the first story, with a return to the social thematic that marks the first one, but with an entirely contemporary setting – Earth 2009.” Set in present day San Francisco, it deals with the aftermath of man’s experiments with genetic engineering that lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy. James Franco plays a driven scientist who becomes a crucial figure in the war between humans and apes.

What’s interesting is that even if you are not a fan of the Ape series, the trailer of this film is is bound to pique your interest with its sleek and positively eerie vibe of an impending uprising. Directed by Rupert Wyatt, it stars James Franco, Brian Cox, Andy Serkis, John Lithgow, Freida Pinto and Tom Felton. It’s tagline: “Evolution becomes Revolution” gives us an insight as to how the film unfolds. In an interview with comicbookmovie.com, director Wyatt said, “There were pivotal moments within our story where we had certain things happen to Caesar along the way as he’s growing up that change him fundamentally. I always looked to the story of John Merrick and ‘The Elephant Man’ for this in that he’s different from us and he has an innocence and an optimistic look upon the world. We deviate slightly from ‘The Elephant Man’ in that Caesar makes a transition to a darker personality, to a darker character, because he realises that there is no way that he can rely upon human kindness and humanity itself to save him or to help him. He will always be the same as the rest of the other apes in this film, which is very much exploited. That’s what brings about the revolution; that is the seed.”

Peter Jackson’s visual effects house WETA Digital (the visual effects company for Avatar) has rendered the photo-realistic apes for the first time in the franchise instead of costumed actors of the yesteryears. Will ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ Win Andy Serkis an Oscar? Movieweb seems to think so. “This ape is mystifying to stare at, and captivating on his own in an environment that, sadly, may prove to be his undoing. It’s all locked in those bright, green eyes. They are buzzing with an intensity that we’ve never seen captured in a CGI rendered character before. Even though Caesar is a fully animated construct, he is at all times engaging and believable. You simply cannot take your eyes away him. While WETA must be credited with crafting a wicked, lifelike creature of wonder, this ape’s particular story of pain and longing is solely expressed in that larger-than-life face. This tsunami of emotions could have only come from a human being.”

Rise of the Planet of the Apes opens on August 5

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