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Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Evolution Becomes Revolution 

Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Rupert Wyatt 
Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto  
An image from Rise of the Planet of the Apes

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” may be a clunky title, but the film itself is a lean and surprisingly affecting continuation of the franchise’s legacy. Utilizing top notch special effects courtesy of WETA (the boffins behind “Avatar”) and an incredibly intelligent screenplay, British film-maker Rupert Wyatt beats the odds with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” by delivering a prequel truly worthy of its Chuck Heston starring predecessor.

After his attempts to cure Alzheimer’s disease come to a disappointing end, scientist Will (James Franco) steals away one of his test subjects to nurture as his own. The creature in question in an ape named Caesar, a young chimp who quickly showcases extreme intelligence and a thirst for exploration. After five years in Will’s care, Caesar eventually becomes a safety concern, the law forcing Will to separate from his beloved buddy after a particularly nasty suburban episode. Caesar is thusly placed into the care of John Landon (Brian Cox) and his despicable son Dodge (Tom Felton, proving he can exist in a post-“Harry Potter” landscape) at the local Primate Care facility. Forced to endure imprisonment and daily abuse, Caesar quickly grows to loathe humanity, the ape itching to form a plan that will help his species overthrow their oppressors.

The narrative may seem basic but “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” characterizes its protagonist wonderfully and deals with some interesting and complex themes on route to its exciting conclusion. Andy Serkis is phenomenally expressive as Caesar (bringing to mind his equally sterling work as Gollum), whilst a supporting cast which includes James Franco and Brian Cox bulks up the human element appropriately. The picture works as a character study, brash blockbuster and cutting commentary on scientific experimentation upon animals, rendering it a triple treat any audience should delight in. Very few films this year have evidenced entertainment value, brains and soul to the extent that can be found in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, and I can guarantee none of them boast the sight of Draco Malfoy being beaten up by a monkey. For that reason alone “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is a winner.

Daniel Kelly

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Screenings of this film:

2011/2012 Spring Term (35mm)
2011/2012 Spring Term (35mm)