Rise of the Planet of the Apes was covered in-depth for the audiences at Empire Big Screen. 20th Century Fox treated us to a lot of footage during their showcase, then WETA talked in-depth and showed visitors behind the scenes footage of use of motion capture in the film and then visitors were treated to a screening of the film itself.
Like all good stories that are handed down from generation to generation, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Directed by Rupert Wyatt, is almost a remake of a remake. The last film in 2001 failed to make an impression at the cinema and the idea of Apes evolving to become rivals to humans is almost too good a story to not tell. This time round, instead of relying on prosthetics like the earlier films, the advancement of computer graphic wizardry means it’s almost impossible to tell what’s chimpanzee and what’s Actor Andy Serkis….that is when he’s not using sign language.
In this version of the story, there’s no space travel and no time travel here and the story is set in the present day. It sees the main character Will (James Franco) chance upon a genetic modification for Chimpanzees’ intelligence whilst researching a cure for Alzheimer’s. The primates in Rise of the Planet of the Apes are as far from the prosthetic angry yet eloquent former versions. In this film, they have personalities and souls, there are times when you can look in to their eyes, almost see their thoughts and relate to them. It’s a film told from the point of view of a Chimpanzee named Caeser, played by Andy Serkis.
Moral story telling runs right through the film. It draws parallels between humans and the apes and aims to show how we are more alike than we really realise. There’s a not so hidden message that animal rights activists would be glad to see, it’s the same in most sci-fi films, meddle in the unknown and unknown things will happen…people will probably be injured, usually the selfish ones.
Unlike most large-scale films, there’s no immediate good or bad side, the humans make choices, mostly wrong in this case, based on their own personal motivation. Be that family, money, business, foolishness etc. Even Caesar the Ape tries not to murder or harm anyone as his conscience grows but does so accidentally in his quest for freedom and belonging. Luckily his accidental victims include the rather irritatingly nasty Dodge Landon (Tom Felton). It’s easy to forgive the Apes when they’re selfish and brutal as how are they to know any better?
The Rise of the Planet of the Apes has been raved about and hyped up but with good reason. It’s a definite must see and possibly the film of the Summer. The acting from Serkis is almost as impressive as the cgi, and watch out for the cutest animatronics baby chimpanzee.