Friday, December 30, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

One of our family's Christmas traditions is that Santa leaves a movie next to everyone's stockings. Its a chance for us to get the movies we missed seeing in theaters. It also gives the kids something to do during the Christmas break that doesn't involve them screaming at each other or sending mom and dad into a catatonic state.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Trailer
One of the films I was most looking forward to this year was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I'll admit I was a little nervous after the failed remake of Planet of the Apes, but the trailer looked good, so I had high hopes.

Lemme slap down the *SPOILER WARNING* right now because I gotta get something off my chest.

Why is it that folks in Hollywood insist on adding things to the script that has nothing to do with the theme of the story? You think after trashing Planet of the Apes they would have been a little smarter with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. But no, they had to put in a big freakin' trip line that kills where the story is going.

What is Rise of the Planet of the Apes about? Apes taking over the world and reducing man to an animal status. The whole franchise is about apes taking over. Kinda obvious, I know.

These stories/films are not an opportunity to sling animal activism or a tree-hugger mentality. They are suppose to be about the frightening possibility of man losing his place in the world.

In all honesty, I have to say that I was really into the film. The plot built the tension well, preparing for the eventual revolt of the apes. The graphic animation and costumes were incredibly lifelike. The whole thing was a big tension roman candle waiting to be lit.

But after the apes battle across the Golden Gate Bridge into the redwoods, there's a 'touching' moment were Caesar tells his creator/father that he can't return home with him because he is home with the other apes in the redwoods. The father then releases him into the wild shouting, "Climb, Caesar!" Caesar leaps enthusiastically up into the forest.

Roll credits.


Somehow I missed the apes revolting part. Sure I saw them bust out of the city, but this movie flops because it doesn't give the audience the moment, like in Conquest of the Apes, where Caesar throws off human oppression with his famous speech.
"Where there is fire, there is smoke. And in that smoke, from this day forward, my people will crouch and conspire and plot and plan for the inevitable day of Man's downfall - the day when he finally and self-destructively turns his weapons against his own kind. The day of the writing in the sky, when your cities lie buried under radioactive rubble! When the sea is a dead sea, and the land is a wasteland out of which I will lead my people from their captivity! And we will build our own cities in which there will be no place for humans except to serve our ends! And we shall found our own armies, our own religion, our own dynasty! And that day is upon you... now!"
There is no release of tension based on the theme. Instead we get to see Caesar return home to the wild. I'll admit they throw in a quick scene in the credits about how man destroys themselves, but by then the damage to the film has already been done.

The apes aren't bad, they're just misunderstood granola types. *Pfft*

I do recommend watching Rise of the Planet of the Apes for the host of other goodies in the film, but just understand that it will leave you unfulfilled at the end because of it's hobbling departure from the franchise's theme.

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