Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dollar Bin (Not So) Splurge of the Week:Rise of the Planet of the Apes(2011)

By Eric Polk-
I know this isn't a horror film, but I figure since Brandon reviewed the tedious Inception and Rhonda gave her take on the not-seen-by-me Jackass 3-D, I felt I could get away with one non-horror movie review this year on this site.

I am a huge fan of the original movie starring Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall so given the mythos behind the sentient simians, I was expecting a kick arse prequel that would reveal a great explanation as to why and how they take over for us incompetent humans. Well, I got a half arse prequel with an uninspired reason as to what happened.

Will Rodman is a scientist who has been trying to develop a cure for Alzhimer's disease by testing a genetically engineered retrovirus on chimpanzees. The virus mutates the chimpanzees, giving them a human level of intelligence. One of his test subjects, a female chimpanzee, goes on a rampage because she believes her baby, to whom she secretly gave birth, is threatened. She is killed after disrupting a board meeting. Will's boss Steven Jacobs orders subordinate Robert Franklin  to put all the test chimpanzees down, but he cannot bring himself to kill the chimpanzee's baby, and instead gives him to Will, who names him Caesar and raises him in his house.Caesar has inherited his mother's high intelligence, and learns quickly.

Will gives a sample of his cure to his father, Charles who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. At first, his father improves but later his body's immune system fights off the virus and his dementia returns. In his dementia, Charles gets into his neighbor's car and damages it, angering a neighbor. As he threatens Charles and pushes him down, the onlooking Caesar attacks him, nearly biting off his finger. After the incident, Caesar is forced to leave Will's house and is held in a San Bruno primate facility run by John Landon. The apes are treated cruelly by Landon's son Dodge who works as a guard there. Caesar is initially attacked by the dominant ape, Rocket. When Dodge brings his friends into the facility, one of them gets too close to Caesar's cage and is grabbed by Caesar, who steals his pocket knife, later using it to escape his cell. Caesar then frees Buck the gorilla and, with his help, gains dominance over the other apes.

Meanwhile, Will creates a more aggressive form of the virus to further treat his father and new tests on chimpanzees begin. It strengthens the intelligence of the apes even further, but it is fatal to humans, unbeknownst to the scientists. Franklin is exposed to the new virus and begins sneezing out blood. He accidentally sneezes on Will's neighbor, and is later found dead in his apartment. Will warns Jacobs against further testing, but when Jacobs plans to continue it, Will quits his job.

Caesar eventually escapes from the primate facility and travels to Will's house, where he steals an airborne strain of the new virus and releases it throughout the caged area, enhancing the intelligence of his fellow apes. He beats Dodge down and shows capability of speech by shouting "No!" at him. Dodge tries to use his stun stick on Caesar, but Caesar sprays Dodge with a hose, killing him. The apes at the facility escape into the city, releasing the remaining apes from GenSys and from the San Francisco Zoo.

What was half arsed, you may ask? The intention on the part of the scientist was wonderful, Eric. You have no heart. Yes, it was. But, the thing is...a virus? We're wiped out the same way as in countless other end-of-the-world movies? Could not the apes, as intelligent as they are, as mad as they were, just unleash primate hell on us and not run for the redwoods? I mean revenge is a perfectly human trait.

Furthermore, when the focus is on just the humans, it's standard, cliched stuff we've seen in countless other films. There is no life to these walking cardboard cutouts. Now, when the movie shifts to the apes' perspective, that's when it's good. I mean Caesar trying to interact with beings of  his own species is believable , for sure.

Finally,two things... THE this from the original POTA

Yes, it's repeated in this movie.....and it's like going from Filet Mignon to potted meat...up until that point the movie was going ok for me.....then the climatic scene.....sorry, but a five-year old with Legos could have created a better destruction scene then that!

If you're a fan of the POTA, you may or may not like this depending on your tastes, but just don't expect a masterpiece.

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