Tuesday, August 30, 2011

dadgum dirty apes

The clumsily named "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (my buddy Mikey suggested the movie should have simply been called "Rise of the Apes", and I agreed) was a movie I wasn't really looking to see, much less pay for, but I had been reading the reviews... and surprisingly enough, the reviews were actually pretty good.  After doing a The Deucecast episode where one of the co-hosts, Matty Rec, raved on how good he thought it was, and it intrigued me.

When I was googling pics for this review, I saw this one, and for some
reason, the first thing that came to mind was Billy Joel's song, "Leave a
Tender Moment Alone". 
I have to preface the entire conversation here by saying that I've never gotten into the Apes lore, with the numerous films from the old days--in fact, I've never seen more than a few minutes of any of them.  When I was working in NYC in 1998 with a Troy BCM mission group, we were teaching English to some immigrants, and I was given the task of "Prepositions".  I had heard that using "the bunny and the log" worked really well... because the bunny could be "before the log" or "atop the log" or "under the log" or "at the long" or something of that nature...

I only say that because I feel that The Planet of the Apes series would fit into that catagory... Beneath..., Conquest of..., Escape from..., Battle for..., Instead Of... Beyond the... All Up On..., Getting Crazy With..., Hangin' With Mr. Cooper... and, you name it, its been "...The Planet of the Apes".  Never seen any of them, except...

...the monstrosity that was the 2001 Mark Wahlberg POS remake, simply titled "The Planet of the Apes".  The movie was just bad, despite having a great cast like Paul Giamatti and Michael Clark Duncan and Tim Roth... just wasted celluloid.

Now, having said all that, I wasn't sure what to expect with "Rise of the Planet of the Apes".  The cast includes James Franco, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis (Gollum from Lord of the Rings, doing similiar stop motion F/X work here) and Draco Malfoy, which I was happy to see got some work since Hogwarts. 

Quite simply, its the story of a man and his monkey... James Franco plays Will, who is a scientist and ends up with a chimp he names Caesar, who lives with him and his Alzheimers-ridden father, and he thinks he may have found a cure for the debilitating disease but the cure ends up being a crazy formula that Cesar gets a hold of, after having already learned a billion human qualities and such, and when he gets around other monkeys, including a big gorilla and a wise old circus orangutan

SIDEBAR... you know those words that you never think about, but figure you know how to spell?  Yeah, "orangutan" was a word for me just now... I would like to think I would have gotten it, but its been like, years since I actually typed or wrote that word out--I mean, who needs to spell the word "orangutan", right?  I barely even have a reason to say it in conversation, much less writing it down...  where was I? 

...and anyway, it turns into this Viva La Monkey Revolucion!, as the previews will tell you this much, especially that crazy clip with the big gorilla flying through the air at a helicopter...

So, the movie was solid.  The story was good, the characters were well written, the script is well written, the special effects, especially Andy Serkis, is unbelievable and overall, I enjoyed it immensely.  You don't have to be familiar with the other films--in fact, there are apparently a dozen or so references to the early films, though I only caught one when Draco Malfoy says, "Dadgum dirty apes!"--to like this movie, and it sets it up quite nicely for following films, which due to the success of this one, are likely.

I was expecting this movie to actually lead right up to the beginning of the original premise, with apes taking over, but the ending leaves a ton of room for the in-between movies if they choose, and of course, there is the final scene that tells you, "Oh... so this is where it starts...". 

You can Netflix it, or Ghetto $1 theater it, but its worth the matinee price to catch it in a big screen experience. 

The Summer of Blogging Day Sixty Six 

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