“Apes will rise” stresses the film’s marketing campaign, presumably since a title like Rise of the Planet of the Apes is just too darn ambiguous in a post-Snakes on a Plane world to decipher. And rise the apes do — eventually. Because we can’t have apes rising all willy-nilly, now can we? They’ve got to be provoked. They’ve got to earn it. So, in order to get to the promised Ape-ocolypse, we must first endure through one of the longest advertisements for PETA I’ve seen since 101 Dalmatians. Only, you know, not nearly as much fun.
For the record, I’m not usually the guy who wills a film to hurry through all the back-story and characterisation in order to get to the boom-boom, blowy-upy bits – I’m a film critic, for goodness sake! — but let Rise of the Planet of the Apes be an exception. Here is a movie so drearily earnest in disposition, generic in premise and plodding in pace, it’s a downright shame some of the finest animation ever seen on screen is found within. To say that the CGI ape, Caesar (Andy Serkis in mo-cap), gives the best performance is a tremendous understatement. He’s a work of fine art, and even if I didn’t rally behind him like the film desperately wants you to do, I did understand him. The same cannot be said about his less-hirsute co-stars, all of whom are so dull and ill-defined, they’re not really worth talking about. So yes, the “Rise” part of the title might be a little misleading, but the bit about “Apes” is bang on the money.
It’s at this point in the review that I admit I have no affinity whatsoever for the Planet of the Apes franchise, nor did I feel a pressing need to see how it all began. Sure, that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying many of the other sequels/prequels/reboots of late, but I think this film in particular has been tailored for the fans. And after Tim Burton’s monstrous 2001 remake, they certainly deserve it.
Below you’ll find my video review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which basically reiterates what I’ve scribed above with a great deal more immaturity and numerous bad puns: