A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

I'm back from watching the new Planet of Da Apes prequel. Before I go on I will say that I watched it with four other women from my church representing different demographic groups and... surprise, surprise... they all said they enjoyed it, despite thinking that it might turn out to be a horror flick.

Now, you might think that yours truly here is a sci-fi fan so yeah, duh... you'd like that kind of stuff... But while yes, it is a science fiction piece there's a lot of heart in this and dare I say it, there's also a little something that touches the mother in me.

Going in, I half expected the film to be a kind of Terminator meets King Kong type of film. While there is that whole "man should not play God" aspect to it, it's not preachy. The story, instead, chooses to focus on notions of family and individual freedom.

Will Rodmanis a highly driven scientist who is working on a radical cure for Alzheimer's and potentially other neurological conditions. His need to succeed lies close to home... his own father. Charles,has fallen victim to Alzheimer's and is deteriorating fast. The cure is an experimental virus. After a mishap at the laboratory, Will is forced to stop his research and the star "guinea pig", a female chimpanzee runs amok. When the star "guinea pig", female chimpanzee runs amok causing a mishap at the lab, Will is forced to stop his research. Unbeknownst to all, she had given birth to an adorable young chimp who is later named Caesar for Julius Caesar by Charles, a Shakespearean quoting piano teacher.

Will and Charles become a surrogate family to the winsome childlike chimp. Still, adorable little chimps grow up into apes... and if you know where The Planet of the Ape stories end up... you'll have an inkling of where this all goes.

While I won't call it scary, there are several jump-out-of-my-seat moments. There's a fair bit of growling, snarling (teeth showing), chest-thumping, several species of primates swinging and jumping from great heights... which boils down to apes doing ape stuff.

It's not a perfect film but what film is.  Pacing feels a bit off at times but it doesn't take away from the overall strength of the film. The apes are terrific though, so incredibly lifelike.
I hear that the ape rendering was done by the talented people at Weta Digital -- the NZ mob who did the CGI for Lord of the Rings. They've done an amazing job and the human being behind Caesar is da incredibly versatile, Andy Serkis, who was the body and voice behind the jumping and hissing Gollum in LOTR.

Credit: Newsarama

And yes, I'm pretty sure there will be a sequel.
Especially if they make pots of money.

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