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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
Cast
Andy Serkis
James Franco
Freida Pinto
John Lithgow
David Oyelowo
Brian Cox
Tom Felton.
Directors
Rupert Wyatt.
Screenwriters
Rick Jaffa
Amanda Silver.
Running Time
105 minutes

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Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
Oh, oobee doo, he wants to be like yoo-hoo-hoo


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Plot
Will Rodman, researching a cure for Alzheimer’s, takes home a baby chimpanzee after its mother — supposedly a failed experiment — is destroyed. Caesar, the chimp, exhibits near-human intelligence, and comes to question his kind’s place on a human planet. Impounded after attacking a neighbour, Caesar meets other apes and foments rebellion.


Review
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
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The game-changing success of Star Wars tends to wipe away the memory of earlier science-fiction franchises, but before George Lucas signed with 20th Century Fox, the studio’s premier property was Planet Of The Apes. Based on La Planète Des Singes, a French novel by Pierre Boulle, the 1968 movie — a mix of Flash Gordon fantasy-action and comic-book Swiftian satire — spun off sequels (little-known trivia fact: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was a pre-production title for the last of the original series, Battle For The Planet Of The Apes), TV series, comics, lunch-boxes, masks, action figures etc.

Ten years ago, Tim Burton’s re-imagining updated the make-up and scrambled the twist ending but achieved little else; now, Rupert Wyatt – vaulting from the likable British crime movie The Escapist, whose star, Brian Cox, gets a meaty human role here — adds to the apes saga with essentially an alternative version of Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes (the one where oppressed talking chimp Caesar leads his dumb brethren in revolt against “lousy human bastards”) that dovetails in neat, witty ways with the original films.

An early sequence in which the ape hero’s mother is hunted by humans with nets is an exact recreation of the capture of Charlton Heston from the first film, and key lines are repeated in new contexts (yes, that one — but also a one-word response given iconic presence in the sequels).

There’s even a missing space mission and a Statue Of Liberty, plus a nod to another simian-related apocalypse (12 Monkeys) along the way — though chimp-spotters might also notice thematic parallels with the Matthew Broderick vehicle Project X and — ahem — The Powerpuff Girls Movie. It’s likely to please the fans, but how does it rate on its own terms? In truth, it’s a little too ambitious in its drama. A powerful sub-plot featuring human hero James Franco’s relationship with his mentally fading father (John Lithgow) spells out a back story Deep Blue Sea got through in a few lines, and takes too much time away from the evolution of Caesar (truly remarkable CG modelled on Andy Serkis’ movements) from adored foundling to imprisoned martyr to revolutionary tactician.

Recalling The Simpsons’ Troy McClure (star of the musical Stop The Planet Of The Apes I Want To Get Off), the role of ‘the human’ in an Apes movie is awkward for anyone of lesser stature than Charlton Heston (ie: everyone). The well-intentioned Franco, the lovely Freida Pinto, a weaselly post-Malfoy Tom Felton (as the prime ape-abuser), corporate suit David Oyelowo and reliables Cox and Lithgow all work hard to compete, but Caesar and his gang — including a signing circus orangutan (named Maurice after Maurice Evans, the original Dr. Zaius), who cannily pretends not to be clever to get by in the ape internment centre — own this movie. At heart, it’s a making-of-a-rebel movie, like Malcolm X or The Motorcycle Diaries, only with its chimpanzee protagonist slipping from pampered privilege as a pet to suffering in prison, while dreaming of freedom from humans, and fighting, plotting and strategising his way to the top of the ape heap.

Only when Caesar gathers his posse of smart monkeys does the film get past sci-fi-inflected soap and politics to pull out the action stops. It takes a while to get there, but the Rise delivers the best set-piece finale of the summer: armed human cops take a stand against a newly intelligent ape army on the Golden Gate Bridge, doomed by two-dimensional human thinking in a battle with primates who can climb as well as charge.


Verdict
A worthy, exciting, emotional addition to the venerable monkey movie marathon. Apes will rise. Sequels are likely.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
Empire Star Rating

I love this film! It's perfectly told and stunningly emotional, but also full of references to the original film. I loved every minute and I thought that the acting was brilliant. Plus, it made me want to reconsider to original as I didn't think much of it on my first viewing. Wonderful reboot! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by livapr99 at 22:29, 24 July 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

A reboot of the much-loved Planet of the Apes franchise was not going to be an easy task. Just ask Tim Burton. After all, his visually striking 2001 attempt at resurrecting the Apes mythology not only gave birth to the risible term ‘re-imagining’ but with its gormless performance from Mark Wahlberg and undermining plot choices (like humans not being mute thugs – if they’re still intelligent why are they so easily ruled?) he almost nailed the series stone dead in one fell swoop Almost. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Biggus at 22:47, 15 December 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

Loved this movie. Really like the aspect of focusing on the fast progression of evolution. No it may not have been physically, but mentally the transition is rather fascinating. The CGI behind this is incredible. Either that or the circus has been holding out on us with some serious shows. ... More

Posted by StevenKThomas at 23:36, 26 September 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

This is a revised post that I made on another board the year the POTAut: the Planet of the Apesamazing film - even though it came out two years ago this month, I haven't seen a movie since that has moved me the way this has. IMHO, this is the best Apes film so far - and, this is coming from a fan of all the previous films: Great beginning, i.e. the capture of the Apes in the remote jungle - and it was very ironic that, in a sense, the beginning of the end for humanity started in a... More

Posted by AnamorphicWidescreen at 03:36, 21 August 2013 | Report This Post


Best Prequel ever!

The film suprised me, when it was announced, I did not trust a lot. The 1968 classic is a Mastepiece, and over the years have been made ​​horrible remakes, and I thought this would be no different. After I saw the movie, I apologize to Ruppert Wart and Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa. The movie is fantastic, it's one of the best reboots ever made, is super loyal to the 1968 classic stories and characters, but also focuses on reality, what would happen if super intelligent monkeys starte... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ralph25 at 21:02, 09 April 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Very much enjoyed this film. Like many have stated before, the apes are the stars of the show. Sheer brilliant acting from Serkis, the CGI was fantastic, I do freely admit to 'aww'-ing seeing baby Caesar downside was the 1D humans, although I thought Franco's character was (somewhat) well written. 4/5 EDIT: need to engage brain before posting ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ref at 01:34, 02 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE:

Watching at the moment - pretty much beats every summer blockbuster this year. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 21:07, 31 August 2012 | Report This Post


This film could have been terrible, but instead it was something of a great addition to a somewhat outdated franchise. Obviously, the original Planet of the Apes is a classic, but this film sets up so much potential for future sequels, with a good storyline, brilliant effects and a great cast. A pleasant surprise. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danfacey711 at 15:06, 24 July 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Very good

und to seeing it.hough entertaining and well done, I was a bit disappointed. The film was about half, or even a third of the story I wanted. It sets up the rise of the apes, but I was hoping to actually see it. I imagine that's coming in the next film. Years later humans have been decimated by the virus, the intelligent apes have proliferated and the two start to compete. Caesar wants coexistence, but a faction of apes (presumably lead by that nasty looking chimp) wants to dominate the human... More

Posted by Sotto Voce at 09:43, 16 May 2012 | Report This Post


Very good

Excellent apes, very well explained and realised. The intelligence of the creatures is very well realised, looking forward to more if they make them. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mentat72 at 11:33, 08 May 2012 | Report This Post


rise of the apes

I thought the apes were gonna take overthe world at the end, not a small forest ! Deserves a sequel. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by antosh25 at 03:22, 19 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

The only 'Apes' film I have seen is the Burton 're-imagining' and I quite like that version as it was visually stunning and a good fun adventure, this new film right from the start I could tell was gonna be a different animal altogether..no pun intended. The effects on the apes at first during the character build up and introduction of 'Caesar' was slightly off in my opinion, it was good but not 'wow!' the faces did look abit plastic and too obviously cgi, but as the film progresses and th... More

Posted by Phubbs at 08:01, 04 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

One of my favourite films from last year. Never got to catch it at the cinema and rented it not expecting to enjoy it that much, even though the majority of reviews I had read were positive. Checked online afterwards and was pleased to see a follow up looks to have been given the go ahead, although it's been pretty quiet since. ... More

Posted by Diggler at 20:17, 01 April 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

Another film I've got round to seeing. And I enjoyed it alot. Having been a fan of the Charlton Heston classics I was abit cautious in how they were going to reprise this films 'Ape' begining,and what route they were likely going to tell this origin story,but the route they took was a good and wise one. The Director,Robert Wyatt, has made a film that combines both logical ideas and that of fictional ideas,and combines both reasonably well. The acting is good and solid,especially J... More

Posted by OPEN YOUR EYES at 14:42, 31 March 2012 | Report This Post


Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

I really enjoyed Rise of the Planet of the Apes as it took a fresh twist on the Planet of the Apes story. Was this remake needed though? Probably not. But the fact still stands that I couldn’t take my eyes away from the screen. The acting skills of Andy Serkis and John Lithgow were phenomenal, Patrick Doyle’s soundtrack outstanding and the motion captured apes story for freedom unpredictably entertaining. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DaleLawson at 14:18, 11 March 2012 | Report This Post


Outstanding Apes

Great film. Completely unexpected treat. Great CGI, good script. Great homages to the series. Serkis stole the film. He was robbed of what should be his third Oscar (two for Gollum, one for this.) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 22:49, 23 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: I don't get it....

Quadruple post, when the website said it didn't post! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by coljohnmatrix at 21:16, 23 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: I don't get it....

Quadruple post, when the website said it didn't post! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by coljohnmatrix at 21:15, 23 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: I don't get it....

Quadruple post, when the website said it didn't post! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by coljohnmatrix at 21:15, 23 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: I don't get it....

Rented this from Lovefilm, I probably wouldn't have bothered if it wasn't for a colleague who recommended it highly. I have to say, I'm glad I did watch it. When I heard they were making it I did think it was just going to be another pointless re-make/re-boot, but it actually was a very worthy addition to the franchise and I look forward to seeing follow ups to the film. Before I was worried that the whole idea of a handful of intelligent apes taking over the world was a bit far-fetched, b... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by coljohnmatrix at 21:14, 23 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: I don't get it....

Rented this from Lovefilm, I probably wouldn't have bothered if it wasn't for a colleague who recommended it highly. I have to say, I'm glad I did watch it. When I heard they were making it I did think it was just going to be another pointless re-make/re-boot, but it actually was a very worthy addition to the franchise and I look forward to seeing follow ups to the film. Before I was worried that the whole idea of a handful of intelligent apes taking over the world was a bit far-fetched, b... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by coljohnmatrix at 21:14, 23 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

Would have preferred a bit more subtlety myself, but then a longer film might have been incredibly prohibitive expensive due to the cost of having so many effects on screen so often. Subtle it aint, but I think it;s pretty good anyway, and using the 'blockbuster engine' to keep it mainstream enough allows the making of a film that isn't just a 'naive scientist goes too far' film, but also a 'those who preach and desire revolution take care you are not just setting yourself to be then next ... More

Posted by jobloffski at 11:00, 22 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review

L: NinjaShortbread212 Absolutely loved this film andt count the number of times I had goosebumpspes were incredibly well created and (as I think I also read up thread somewhere) were more characteristic/ believable even, than the actors themselves, which I concur with also. Immense film .... HAT!!? I'm beginning to wonder what the hell film I actually watched! Hamsterminator welcome, and no you're not the only one... ... More

Posted by Vitamin F at 10:33, 22 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

double post ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hamsterminator at 01:35, 22 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

Having just watched this on dvd, am I the only one who found this film thoroughly disappointing? You can surely only enjoy this film if you suspend disbelief for around 80 minutes and have no understanding of physics or nature. Perhaps i'm being a little harsh- but the original Planet of the Apes is a classic science fiction which made you think outside the box and inspired generations of sci-fi fanatics. This film does nothing of the sort- it is in essence a hollywood action film mask... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hamsterminator at 01:35, 22 February 2012 | Report This Post


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