Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Tuesday August 2nd 2011

There’s something inherently unsatisfying about Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and I don’t just mean its supremely inelegant title (seriously guys, two of thes in seven words? Shit’s ridiculous). It’s an entirely new reboot of the popular primate-based franchise, so in theory it’s free to explore whatever territory it likes without concern for series continuity, but despite its apparent independence from its predecessors, it’s hard not to suspect that you know where it’s going. Clue: it’s called Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Humanity isn’t coming out of this one on top.

Still, for a movie that’s basically a two-hour foregone conclusion, it does make for reasonably solid entertainment. There are only a few distracting in-jokes, some of the action sequences are truly spectacular and the mo-cap apes are phenomenally realistic. It’s almost impossible to believe that the film was made on roughly the same budget as Zookeeper. Just look at this FX comparison:

It’s a shame then that the film is so entirely devoid of drama. Foregone Conclusion Filmmaking can sometimes work (holla at ma boy Titanic) but Rise of the Planet of the Apes moves in such a doggedly straight line towards its inevitable conclusion that they might as well have a big clock in the corner of the screen counting down the minutes until the Big Rise. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. It might’ve been the saving grace for 127 Hours.

Eventually the apes do of course rise (spoiler alert!) and the film finishes with an open ending that’s obviously incredibly bold in this world of quick thrills and instant gratification, and definitely isn’t just a massive advertisement for the unavoidable sequel.

Continued Dominance of the Planet of the Apes, anyone?