Surprisingly Complete

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Rupert Wyatt, 2011)

It has long been theorized that man would fall down and give in to the advancement of technology and soon, as the machine gets smarter and gains intelligence through human operators, it will start to overtake the human race. So, isn’t it quite ironic, that a movie like Rise of the Planet of the Apes about the rise of a sub-human species to overtake their evolved ancestors, uses acting that is done through such advanced technology? We are seeing 3 worlds collide on screen in this film. The past, the present and the future… and this collision, is one of the most spectacular, powerful and engrossing events in recent film history.

Rupert Wyatt is a relatively new filmmaker and much in the tradition of Niell Blomkamp, Wyatt delivers a tense, gripping sci-fi thriller with political, social and environmental implications. Throughout the film, we begin to understand the human/primate connection and with this connection begin to theorize ourselves how close we really are. The rise of these primates is interesting in that it informs us on how much power mother nature really has over man-made technology. Even as the Apes are being assaulted with fire-arms and surrounded by police, they find a way to survive, by pure instinct: climb up, climb down and use tactics over sheer power.

The underlying themes and Wyatt’s stylistic direction are clearly eminent in the film, but they take a backseat to a one-man powerhouse that is Andy Serkis. Motion capture or no motion capture, Andy Serkis delivers one of the most searing and heartbreaking performances in recent memory simply from the fact that every movement and facial expression of Serkis speaks 10 times louder and clearer than all the inspirational monologues for cheesy Oscar-bait movies ever written. Particularly tear-jerking is the scene where Ceasar is knocking on the window of the nature replica in the zoo as James Franco and Frieda Pinto wave goodbye to the ‘son’ they raised.

All in all, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a powerful package that is as complete as a summer blockbuster can possibly get. Thrills, chills, depth, insight, good acting and valuable entertainment which respects the audience’s awareness of the world around them. Wyatt doesn’t treat us, his movie-goers, as rabid animals looking for nothing but their 2 cents of instant gratification (like Michael Bay would), he treats us as living, thinking and independent minded individuals, and that frankly, is all we ask from him.

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