Ain't It Cool News (
Movie News

Nordling Goes Ape$#!t For RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES!

Nordling here.

I came out of RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES smiling widely.  I didn't downgrade the film when it was first announced like many others did; I liked the trailers that I saw, even though they didn't leave much to the imagination on where the plot was headed.  The PLANET OF THE APES franchise is one of the most beloved by movie geeks and everyone knows the premise by now.  Charlton Heston on the beach in front of the Statue of Liberty is one of the great iconic images in science fiction, and it's been referenced and spoofed for more than 40 years now.  For 20th Century Fox to revive this series, after the critical drubbing that Tim Burton's "reimagining" took, well, I'll give them this, they got guts.  But whether or not those guts would translate to the film still remained to be seen.

Well, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES has guts.  It takes genuine risks, and scenes that might otherwise come off as incredibly silly are won over by the skills of the master craftsmen and women at WETA, the direction of Rupert Wyatt, and especially, from the acting work of Andy Serkis, who at this point should seriously be considered for some sort of special Oscar consideration.  His Caesar is a tremendous achievement - a real, true performance that runs through every emotional range possible - fear, happiness, love, pride, anger, and finally, true heroism.  It's stunning how good Serkis and the WETA team are at bringing Caesar to life.  It stops being a special effect almost immediately.

We begin in a jungle, as a group of chimps move through the trees.  Suddenly poachers grab as many chimps as they can, and one chimp in particular gets shipped to Gen-Sys, a biotech company in the business of making the next new miracle drugs for the 21st century.  Gen-Sys is funding Will Rodman (James Franco) to do research on a cure for Alzheimer's.  For Will, the research isn't merely academic - his father (John Lithgow) is stricken with the disease, to the point that a once brilliant teacher now must be under constant care.  For Will, the drug he's working on, ALZ-112, is his last hope to help his father.

Our chimp, named "Bright Eyes" by the staff, is given the treatment and she begins to show increased intelligence very quickly.  Impressed with the results, head of research Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) gives the go ahead for a presentation to get approval for human trials.  But Bright Eyes suddenly has what seems to be a breakdown and has to be put down, putting a stop to Will's research.  Will is disheartened, but later at Bright Eyes' pen, he discovers the reason for her outburst - it was a protective stance for her newborn.  Will, against his better judgment, takes the baby chimp home, and as the chimp, named Caesar by Will's father, grows older, he shows the same increased intelligence as his mother.  The drug seems to work, and as we follow Caesar's story the next few years, it becomes obvious that he is no ordinary chimpanzee.  

But Caesar begins to question his place in the world, and after an incident involving Will's father, the chimp is, by court order, placed in a primate preserve, managed by John Landon (Brian Cox) and his cruel son Dodge (Tom Felton).  As Caesar tries to figure out how he belongs among them, he must use his intelligence to help himself, because he does not have the brute strength or experience that the other apes have.  And as events unfold the way they must, Caesar's destiny becomes strangely intertwined with humanity's own.  All of this will end as one species continues its inevitable decline, another will emerge as the dominant species of the planet.

The character work on the various apes is remarkable.  WETA have truly outdone themselves with the special effects, and they'll surely win the Oscar again this year, deservedly.  But even more than that, all the mo-cap performances are perfect.  Every ape character is an individual with their own personalities and quirks, and that pays off when the apes finally do rise because we have follwed each individual story arc.  Each ape is beautifully rendered, from Maurice the orangutang, to Koda the older chimpanzee, beaten down by years of harsh treatment.  The CGI isn't completely flawless, but the use of the motion-capture in live-action sequences, not on a soundstage, really shows how far the technology has come, even since AVATAR only 2 years ago.  

If the human performances suffer by comparison, it's to be expected.  James Franco and John Lithgow do fine work, and their story is moving and sad, but Freida Pinto is a fairly inert character, given little to do except be Franco's love interest.  All Felton is missing is a mustache to twirl, so obvious a villain is he in the film.  Although many of the human characters lack subtlety, they don't distract from the story.  This is Caesar's film, and Andy Serkis is simply jawdroppingly good.  Gollum and Kong were just the beginning for Serkis, who turns in a performance of such depth and emotion that Charlie Chaplin would tip his bowler hat in appreciation.

Fans of the original films will enjoy the throwbacks quite a bit, but what I really liked is how RISE drops into the original scheme of films almost effortlessly.  If Fox were to make a sequel to this, they could simply make the original film, line for line, with the WETA effects filling in instead of the rubber masks.  It's very much a part of the APES universe and yet stands on its own as a complete work.  This is the second prequel this year that's gotten it right - curiously enough the other one, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, was a Fox film as well.  And even though the end result is obvious, it's how the film gets there that's so entertaining.  There isn't even much action until the last 30 minutes or so, but the performances, the story, and the effects work are just so riveting that when the inevitable uprising happens it feels completely earned and not arbitrary in the least.

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES isn't very ambiguous about what side it's on - this is the apes' film, and we humans deserve what we get.  This is a film that treats intelligence as the gift that it is, and not only to the characters in the film but to the audience as well.  The ape scenes have little dialogue except for the grunts of the characters, but you know exactly what is happening and what they are communicating to each other.  We are invested.  There are moments in the film that cause real emotional distress at the fates of some characters, and that's something not easily done in a film like this, especially when many of the films this summer are only interested  in having so many things crash into each other for effect.  It's truly wonderful how a look between two CGI ape characters can communicate so much to the audience.  There's nothing in RISE that feels like it's dumbing itself down for the masses.

In a way, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES plays out like a story handed down in a world where the apes are already the dominant species.  Much of the film feels like a bedtime story an ape parent would share with their child.  I held off writing this review because after I saw it I was so completely satisfied and happy with the film that I thought I was just overly gushing.  The film couldn't be that good, could it?  But as the next couple of days passed, the film still stands tall in my mind.  It's not that the expectations were low enough to be pleasantly surprised - no, this is a genuinely great science fiction film, and I think the filmmakers, and WETA, especially, deserve the benefit of the doubt.  20th Century Fox has nothing to worry about.  I should have seen it coming - RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES stands tall and proud with the rest of the summer releases, and while many of those will be forgotten, RISE will be looked back fondly for years to come.  Yes, it's just that good.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Aug. 4, 2011, 10:48 p.m. CST


    by mattforce7

    Mo cap suites

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 10:52 p.m. CST

    Great Review Nordling!!!

    by billF

    Can't wait to see this movie!!!!!!

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 10:55 p.m. CST

    We need a sequel!

    by Smegmasaurus_Rex

    I went to the screening on Wednesday and was really impressed at how well the apes were executed. I need to see apes locking people in cages!

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 10:56 p.m. CST

    i'm in but

    by PedroM

    what about Prometheus trailer

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:05 p.m. CST


    by Warren

    WETA gets behind usually turns out great, this review proves my statement correct.

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:06 p.m. CST

    Wait a good Fox genre movie?

    by chien_sale

    it couldn't be!

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:14 p.m. CST


    by Emperor

    An obvious plant, fellas. Get your water hoses out, and feed it as much as you can...

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:14 p.m. CST


    by montessaurus

    For deals though, this film is on my radar right fucking nao!

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:14 p.m. CST

    Amazing review thank you...

    by Andrew Coleman

    I'm seeing this tomorrow the first showing... After my hair cut. Hope I can get a hair cut that early.

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:15 p.m. CST

    for reals

    by montessaurus

    For reals. Damn dirty android autocorrect.

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:17 p.m. CST

    oh shit. i wasnt in before PLAAAAAAANT

    by montessaurus

    Oh well.

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:24 p.m. CST

    Nordling Goes Insane For Latest Movie! Any One Of Them!

    by Rex Carsalot

  • This made me laugh very, very hard.

  • in the science hallway and Mark says to him "i'm taking a training monkey and goin' up to space" made me cringe though.

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:42 p.m. CST

    Sounds good.

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    But is the rumor true that WETA is working on a remake of Every Which Way But Loose with Andy Serkis as Clyde?

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:43 p.m. CST

    Too Much Hair

    by Frodo T. Baggins

    Too. Much!!!

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:47 p.m. CST

    no awards for Serkis

    by Titus05

    because you can't tell how much of it is CGI and how much is his actual you're just opening the flood gates for full CGI performances to get Academy Award consideration

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:47 p.m. CST

    Catchtheman, your posts are annoying as hell.

    by carey adams


  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:48 p.m. CST

    Great review, Nordling.

    by ewokstew

    I'll be seeing this bad boy this weekend:)

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:52 p.m. CST

    Because they chose the right director

    by the_shitweasel_with_a_quizzical_brow

    The Escapist was soo good, so bloody memorable! Fanastic low budget filmaking to be proud of. This film has benefited from a story that is very emotion led and aswell he has the power and technology to make it. Being more risky with directors helps with big budget movies as this has proven!

  • Aug. 4, 2011, 11:58 p.m. CST

    Prometheus Trailer???

    by faux1975

    To be honest, that's all I care about. Any sighting??

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 12:12 a.m. CST

    I often wonder

    by the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    if genderbender is actually a real woman or a brilliant parody of misaneristic feminism from the mind of a male satirist on par with Guest/McKean/Shearer.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 12:24 a.m. CST


    by Optimus Prime

    HA HA! I have a dick and YOU don't!!! Neener Neener! You ain't got no weiner! I'm just happy you found AICN to whine about it in. Congratulations Vagisaurus.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 12:26 a.m. CST

    ok, i'll see this tomorrow

    by antonphd

    my brother and wife want to see it too.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 12:50 a.m. CST

    This movie just went from a couldn't care less...

    by spiderinside

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 12:51 a.m. CST a might give half a shit about netflixing.

    by spiderinside

    Yes, I am drunk.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 1:07 a.m. CST

    GENDERBENDER IS A TROLL, please stop feeding this dude

    by BadMrWonka

    there is a talkbacker named GenderBlender (note the L) who has a weird obsession with Captain America failing (oops, sorry), but other than that is pretty reasonable. GenderBender (sans L) is just some sad dude who decided to make a similar name and provoke people with pseudo-intellectual nonsense about women vs. men. it's getting REALLY annoying to watch so many of you buy into it. please, don't feel the trolls.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 1:15 a.m. CST

    the dolphins are in the jacuzzi

    by Carl XVI Gustaf

    There have been many different nicks on here spouting insults and bringing "facts" (and some of those probably being the same person). Later they claim (when proven wrong or couldn't come up with a good reply) that they were doing a routine and were actually great satirists. It's like some people here think they can make a career here on AICN talkbacks and get a call from personal hero Apatow or the hilarious genius Sandler.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 1:16 a.m. CST

    Dude.. this movie is really good.. Please see it.

    by Count Screwface

    I was so impressed. If you give any shit at all, see it.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 1:20 a.m. CST

    badmrwonka, you're wrong there

    by D.Vader

    There is nothing reasonable about GenderBlender, she is a troll through and through. Yes she has a weird obsession with Captain America failing. But she also had a weird obsession with Game of Thrones failing (she was wrong there too) and has another obsessions with Tintin failing (bc she thinks Tintin is sexist). She is completely sexist and hates anything that "geeks" might like and is determined to see every "geek" property fail. And oh yeah, she also thinks men don't like vaginas and don't like looking at vaginas. Trust me. There is nothing there to reason with. At all.

  • Just too hard to believe. It worked in the original because you never saw it nor did you know how it happened.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 1:39 a.m. CST

    Absolutely BRILLIANT movie

    by ChezKing

    Just got back from seeing it, and it was a truly brilliant and highly satisfying film. The story was flawless. I never say that about any movie, or book that I read, but they nailed the story perfectly. They explain everything so well, that it even validates everything about the first, original Planet of the Apes film. I will definitely be seeing it again ASAP. I sincerely hope this movie is a massive success so that we may get to see a sequel. But even if it's not, they did a truly amazing job validating the Apes concept-- and kudos to them for that. This movie is a grand achievement on so many levels.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 1:41 a.m. CST

    For $10 I feel like I should be getting blue aliens


    or spaceships or guys dressed up in rubber bat suits or something. But I've always thought this looked good from the trailer.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 1:43 a.m. CST

    @ iwantmorelifefather

    by ChezKing

    I went in thinking the same thing, But it's explained...and you will be completely surprised at how brilliant and yet simple the explanation is. Definitely see it.

  • I pretty much know everyhing that's going to happen in why watch it? Because i like to see CG monkeys chunking spears?

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 1:49 a.m. CST

    Mel Gibson should have called you a fucktard instead

    by quantize

    anyone who judges films they haven't seen by what they imagine based on marketing campaigns and trailers is a dickhead know-it-all (ie nothing)

  • so please, keep laughing like the fool ur

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 1:57 a.m. CST

    I had the same reaction as some of you...

    by kisskissbangbang

    ..until I saw it. The commercials made it look like just another Fox cash-grab, and I had zero interest till I heard from someone I can almost always trust, due to very similar tastes, who told me I'd be shocked at how good it was. He was right. This is better than any other PotA film project save the first movie. The screenplay is sharp and tight, and all the questions you guys are asking are answered plausibly (though you have to sit through the credits to see them addressed fully. This was perhaps poorly judged, as this is not just a Sam Jackson cameo, but an important plot point that normal people who leave as the credits roll won't see; but it's in there.) As for the rest, the music, editing and direction are all powerhouse, along with several of the performances. Some of the CGI is weak in the part where we see Caesar as an infant, but the stuff in the finale is terrific, along with all the work in the primate holding facility; the expressiveness and individuality of the apes is impressive. Frieda Pinto is lovely, but brings little else (though her part is underwritten, so it's not all her fault). But Franco is solid (and I'm not his biggest fan), John Lithgow is very fine, and Serkis is flat-out magnifcent; I think this is his finest work. Talk of an Oscar nomination is not deranged; it may be unlikely, because I think many of the actors who vote are afraid of motion-capture replacing them, but it's not ridiculous. In sum, I think this is the best sf film I've seen this year (though I missed Source Code), and I'll be delighted if I see another one this year this strong. If you have any fond feelings for the franchise, or sf movies in general, you should strongly consider seeing this.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 1:58 a.m. CST

    Dont judge til you see it

    by KinjoAlcoholicNinja

    This movie is really really good. For those who can't get past the "The apes couldn't ever beat a human army" works because of a very well executed plot point

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 2:02 a.m. CST

    Ok it's 12:01 and I'm off to the 12:05 show.

    by UltraTron

    Good thing it's down the street and I can leave when it starts and still catch previews.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 2:23 a.m. CST

    Saw it last night

    by bohdi71

    Great show, the look of the apes and their performances are amazing...

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 2:28 a.m. CST

    Great Review...Great Movie!!!....

    by BlackBriar

    Damn! They did a KickAss Job, Midnight showing was fun Crowd went nuts For "Damn Dirty Ape" part. Great Flick!

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Awesome Movie!!

    by BlackBriar

    It is that Good! everyone needs to go see this....

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 2:59 a.m. CST

    from all of these reactions...

    by mattforce7

    looks like i know what im doing friday night

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 3:04 a.m. CST

    If it's so damn good...

    by JonJonB9

    why is the advertising making it look so damn shitty? That's just bad business.

  • I get that the character names reference the names of characters from the first film (Landon, Dodge, etc.), but what film is THIS movie a prequel to? In the original film, Heston and the gang blast off from a human Earth and crash back on it in an ape future. In the Tim Burton flick, Mark W. is in the future in space. His spaceship zips though a wormhole and crashes on an ape planet. Mark escapes in the ship only to end up on an ape world that resembles present day Earth (twisty ending). I've only seen the trailer, but it appears to give away most of the movie's set up and plot. We already know how it ends. The title gives that up. So which movie is this a prequel to? It can't be the first one. It looks like they are set in present day Earth. Give or take a few years. We don't even have a spaceshuttle anymore. So how will Heston and crew blast off in their fancy starship before the apes take over? And besides, wasn't there a sequel where somehow some apes from the future come back in a starship and Khan helps them escape from the feds? And this leads to the ape takeover? Whatever. It can't be the Tim Burton one. Mark gets his ape problems by bouncing through them crazy wormholes. He ends up visiting Ape-raham Lincoln's statue. It's freaky! It seems to me that this must be the first in a whole new run of Ape films. Prequel-Schmequel. Anybody have any thoughts on this?

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 5:35 a.m. CST

    smells like a lot of marketing plants

    by animas

    in this talkback

  • I'm so fed up with dumbing down for the sake of entertaiment. Sicne when something sutpid is more fun then something intelligence? Since never, that's what. Being treated as an idiot never entertained me. I'm not expecting this movie to be brillant. But if it has enough intelligent movies and no desire to dumb down to the audience, i'll be quite happy.

  • Misandry is the hatred or dislike of men or boys. Misanthropy is a generalized disgust, contempt or hatred of the human species or human nature.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 6:43 a.m. CST

    This is for that idiot l.h.puttgrass who needs some schooling!

    by ZodNotGod

    It would appear, RISE is a prequel to the original. BENEATH and ESCAPE are the sequels. CONQUEST is the result of an altered timeline created by ESCAPE. BATTLE is the final sequels of the originals. It makes a lot of sense that RISE is the prequel as it plants the seeds for ape intelligence. Sure it doesn’t catch fire immediately, but by the time the original movie kicks in, humanity has wasted itself and the Apes have evolved into superior beings. It all works out until the timeline is polluted by Cornelius and Zira and their baby from ESCAPE. Tim Burton's version could fit in anywhere as it’s not a direct remake, but an alternate view of a Monkey planet and doesn't clash with any of the above. Lastly, don't apply real world situations to a movie, you look like a dumb ass when doing so (no shuttle program! Who cares!). Its a movie and can do whatever it wants, there are no rules. Don't do drugs.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 6:44 a.m. CST


    by ZodNotGod

    Stop putting all of your comments in the subject line, it looks dumb.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 6:46 a.m. CST

    Wait... Charlton Heston on the beach in front of the Statue of Liberty?

    by Jonathan Hicks

    You mean... they blew it up? It was earth all along?!? SPOILER WARNING, DAMN YOU!! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 7:03 a.m. CST

    This was pretty good...

    by Bloodhound

    ...although for me the apes became more of a special effect once they began performing obviously impossible super-simian feats. And post-Oscars Franco was not nearly as annoying as I might have expected. A few loose ends point towards the storyline for the sequels.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Everything's a plant! Sick of that shit.

    by Hudson Cock

    Get off your asses and go to a screening every now and then. Very good flick. Watching gorillas fuck up cops was right up my alley.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 8:24 a.m. CST

    How does this fit with the other films?

    by flax

    Is this a prequel to the original with Charlton Heston, or the bad Tim Burton remake? It seems to be a remake of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, which follows the same general story. Does this make it a massive retcon which replaces Conquest's place in the chronology of the original series? Is it an all-out reboot? Or are they tying it into the 'time loop' which appeared in Escape from the Planet of the Apes? Maybe this is the original timeline with the 'original' Caesar, before Cornelius and Zira got sent back in time and had a son who became a 'new' Caesar? If that's the case, and the first two films took place in the same 'original' timeline as this one, maybe the Burton film takes place in the future of the 'new' timeline, which also includes the last three films of the original series because Cornelius and Zira changed everything by going back? Fuck it, I need to draw a diagram.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 8:34 a.m. CST


    by ZodNotGod

    It would appear, RISE is a prequel to the original. BENEATH and ESCAPE are the sequels. CONQUEST is the result of an altered timeline created by ESCAPE. BATTLE is the final sequels of the originals. It makes a lot of sense that RISE is the prequel as it plants the seeds for ape intelligence. Sure it doesn’t catch fire immediately, but by the time the original movie kicks in, humanity has wasted itself and the Apes have evolved into superior beings. It all works out until the timeline is polluted by Cornelius and Zira and their baby from ESCAPE. Tim Burton's version could fit in anywhere as it’s not a direct remake, but an alternate view of a Monkey planet and doesn't clash with any of the above.

  • coz you can go fuck yourself royally and i still dont'll still be an ignorant tool

  • really..

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 9:01 a.m. CST

    This thread needs Asshole whining about JJ in it

    by quantize

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 9:03 a.m. CST

    animas, not only am I not a plant...

    by kisskissbangbang

    ...(as many fine, upstanding talkbackers can testify), I barely even eat plants. I'm a real carnivore, an antivegetarian, a meat sans potatoes kind of guy. Pretty sure there's less plant matter in my body than in yours. So enough of this plant talk, OK? Honest, it's a good movie. Not perfect, but really good.

  • well put

  • You really are a pompous jerk

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Nice review, think I'll skip out of work early and watch it

    by kidicarus

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 9:45 a.m. CST

    zodnotgod, that's an interesting setup you've postulated...

    by kisskissbangbang

    ...I just took it as its own thing, and the references to the other movies as homage, not hints. But if you did want it to fit in with the other films, your proposal would be the way to go (although I'm not sure how Icarus could end up taking centuries or millennia to get back to back to Earth if it's going to Mars (as I thought they said)). I'd also prefer just the original simple-but-cool time loop of the original movies, if only because it's the canniest write-yourself-out-of-a-corner-the-previous-movie-put-you-in move I can think of. Recomplicating the timelines, while neat in its own right, perhaps takes some of the focus away from the apes; I love complex time travel stories, like Primer, in their own right, but I think the original twist is complex enough for the series. But that's just me; it's not to say your scheme isn't well thought out, because it is. (It also occurs to me that there's more than complexity involved. There's a feeling of fatedness and inevitability about the original cycle that you'd lose if you can change the past and create new timelines. I think it's a better fit for the downbeat, ironic quality of the original films. But hey, I like both Terminator & T2, which have completely different views of time, so what do I know? These days, I care less about what's canon, and more about what's good (too many years of bad comics retconning, I guess). This film is pretty damn good; how it fits with the others is less important to me (though still not without its own interest.)

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 9:46 a.m. CST

    I've never known a summer with so many surprisingly good films.

    by Mr Nicholas

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Where are the humans that side with the apes?

    by Wookie_Weed

    Because plenty of people, in the situation presented in the movie, would side with Caeser and the apes.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 10:01 a.m. CST

    This review is a plant

    by Wookie_Weed

    Did someone help Nordling write this review?

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 12:12 p.m. CST

    So Serkis is good at playing Monkeys

    by doom master

    King Kong was his best but if you say this one is better than Kong Ill check it out. His Kong Performance was the shit.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Attack the Rise of the Apes that live on the Block

    by NightArrows

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 1:06 p.m. CST


    by Red_Right_Return

    I saw this and it was one of the best movies this summer. Right below Capt A. So go fuck yourselves if you don't like it.

  • Great direction, strong story, some of the acting is spotty and dialogue is weak at points, but overall one of the best movies of the summer. The movie has my favorite moment in any film this sumer to-date. Worry that all the hype will lead to disappointment. This is a direct prequel to the original. Doesn't overtly explain what happened to Icarus, but if you look for the details on TV Screens in the background and newspapers - in some scenes, it says that ship is lost in space...

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 2:30 p.m. CST

    The theatre I saw it in...

    by NightArrows

    ..was so excited by the end, everyone started throwing their shit at each other!

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 2:41 p.m. CST

    It was great

    by dukeroberts

    I saw the 11:30 this morning and I loved it. I was surprised how great it was. You really get an emotional attachment to Caesar early on. He is a wonderful character. Franco was solid, probably the best work he's done, aside from 127 Hours. I think Lithgow may get a supporting Oscar nomination for this. Of course, I said that about Tim Roth after the 2001 movie (he was incredible in that). Now, Caesar was obviously CGI, but some of those apes really did look very real. The orangatuan looked so real, I couldn't tell if it was fake or not. I encourage everyone to see this film.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 3:10 p.m. CST


    by dahveed1972

    Is there any explanation for how the apes became intelligent? I guess this movie IS the explanation, but was it ever mentioned back in the day?

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 4:12 p.m. CST

    New Rocky Horror

    by squiddude

    But with feces flying instead of toast.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 4:12 p.m. CST

    There's only one person whose opinion I will regard: subtitles_off


    Calling Subtitles_Off! Calling Subtitles_Off! Do you read me, Subtitles_Off! I know you are seeing this today.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 4:13 p.m. CST


    by UtinniPuccini


  • Aug. 5, 2011, 4:40 p.m. CST

    No you'll never make a monkey out of me.

    by Ted Knight

    Oh my god! I was wrong! It was Earth, all along. You finally made a monkey Yes we finally made a monkey Yes you finally made a monkey out of me! I LOVE YOU DR ZAIUS!

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 4:40 p.m. CST

    We will cure Alzheimer's...

    by Ray Garraty #47

    ...with a cadre of chemists, military personnel, and primate specialists in a cutting edge lab, and none of us will notice that the animal we have spent 4 million dollars to alter is pregnant.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 5:41 p.m. CST

    So we are supposed to root

    by Circean6

    So we are supposed to root for the apes to kill all humans? Good and bad? Sorry, its a disconnect I can't get past.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Stargrove, that Simpsons verse could fit this movie....

    by kisskissbangbang

    ...or rather my experience of seeing it: Oh my God! I was wrong! It was great, all along. This movie made a monkey, Yes, this movie made a monkey, Yes, this movie made a monkey out of me!

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Not sold. These Apes look fake.

    by MajorFrontbum

    WETA's effects, are really not that special. Maybe in 15-20 years time, CGI will have evolved to the stage of convincing photorealistic characters on the big screen, but not now in 2011 - it just looks too cartoony and artificial. NEXT!

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 8:08 p.m. CST


    by CherryValance

    Yeah we are. And I totally did. I was thinking 'Kill every one of those damn dirty humans!!!' *gnashes teeth*

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 8:27 p.m. CST

    What happened to Quint's review????

    by squiddude

    Apparently it got pulled. Not gushing enough.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 8:33 p.m. CST

    squiddude, nothing so sinister...

    by kisskissbangbang

    ....if you go to the main page and press more, you'll see it. It was just crowded off the front page by newer stories.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 8:36 p.m. CST

    Not Bad Not Great

    by Raskolnikov_was_framed

    pretty good summer flick...when Caesar (spoilers) screams 'NOOOOOO' was a pretty cool moment...wouldn't see it again in theatres...might...MIGHT buy it...probably not though...def worth a matinee ticket

  • The copious amounts of adulation from a majority of film reviewers plus your assuaging a little of my initial skepticism concerning the amount of monkeys it would take to pose a formidable threat, my defenses are wearing down.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 10:32 p.m. CST

    *ending spoilers*

    by Ted Knight

    While Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" plays in the background, the apes take over when on a signal from Caesar they toss banana peels on the ground in front of the humans. It is all over in minutes.

  • Aug. 5, 2011, 11:53 p.m. CST

    Just got out of the theater

    by manley

    I've been a big fan of the series for about 16 years. Conquest has always been my favorite, but I think Rise is probably better. It gets so many things right. The "take your stinking paws" moment was almost an eye roller, but then it is followed by such an important and unexpected event discussed in the original series that it is instantly forgiven. My only complaint is that Fox released way too much footage to lock in an audience. That extended helicopter scene should never have seen the light of day before the official release.

  • Aug. 6, 2011, 1:23 a.m. CST

    To be honest I had ZERO intrest in seeing this

    by JestaFool

    when I first heard about it and even after seeing the trailer cuz those are all misleading, especially from FOX. I did not like the first remake they did either.....but everyone I talk to says this movie really surprised them. Everyone having low expectations could very well be the issue here, but I am def going to try and watch this now. Will be worth a download at the least me thinks. (although from how good I hear the CGI is, I may try and see it in the theater)

  • Aug. 6, 2011, 3:47 a.m. CST

    Great film! I'm now a fan of Rupert Wyatt.

    by DrPain

  • Aug. 6, 2011, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Shawshank Harry avatar. Cool.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

  • Um, yeah there is. SPOILERY There's a scene requiring two apes have a conversation. Since they are both intelligent and have been taught sign language, they "speak" to each other using gestures. The patronizing film-makers, at this point, insert intrusive, distracting, unnecessary SUB-TITLES. You know, so we can "get" every word, even though the expressions computer-rendered on the characters' faces tell every bit of the story. Without sub-titles, the audience would've been forced to engage with the characters and think for themselves. In essence, they'd be put in the same place as the characters. Struggling, just a bit, to understand. For the first movie in a series about talking apes where the apes can't talk, THAT would've been a unique and magnificent scene. The whole movie is like that. Layer upon layer upon layer of redundant exposition that is proven unnecessary by every moment in which none of the characters can do more than grunt but are still crystal clear. END SPOILERY I liked this movie. It's an absurd amount of fun, and it's got genuine emotion to back its stuff up. But the movement effects are shit, and everything is spelled out. E. V. E. R. Y. T. H. I. N. G. It lurched me from my enjoyment of the movie more than a few times. This is much better than the film it reboots --- CONQUEST. And, I never thought CONQUEST was bad, either. But. Greatness is a slippery banana.

  • You know it when you see it. It's a big, old-fashioned, glorious movie moment, and it was worth the price of admission, even if you can see it coming a mile away. The audience I saw this with actually gasped. I haven't been in an audience that gasped at anything other than a manipulated jump scare in decades.

  • Aug. 6, 2011, 4:58 p.m. CST

    @ ray garraty

    by Subtitles_Off

    Yep. That's something of a plot-hole. They could've, should've dealt with that. "Bright Eyes'" handler (loved that Easter Egg, as well as "Dodge Landon") could've very easily been given a line or two of dialogue in which he resisted the experiments on her due to her pregnancy, while the money-men and the scientists could've insisted they progress because she'd shown such advances in intelligence. The whole movie is more than just a bit like that. It over-explains stuff it doesn't have to, and leaves other stuff lazily, unexplained (like, magic, over-night glowy eyes). Sometimes, the good stuff in a movie mutes the lousy stuff. Like I said, greatness is a slippery banana.

  • Aug. 6, 2011, 5:03 p.m. CST

    @ circean6. Not every one. Good and bad.

    by Subtitles_Off

    But, yeah, you'll get over that disconnect, for the purposes of this particular fantasy situation. The apes are that emotionally engaging. Besides, contrary to the title, this story isn't about the apes taking over the planet. They're just trying to get across a bridge. (Nice nod, there, to Pierre Boulle's other novel.) Humans will be responsible for the human downfall. Just like the classic series. Only, we're no longer afraid of nuclear annihilation like we were in the late sixties-early seventies. So, they've come up with something else. Thank Jeeby they didn't try to make the apes terrorists. Go with it. You'll have a good time. I don't like blockbusters, and I give this one an opposable thumbs up.

  • Aug. 6, 2011, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Subtitles_off, that's a pretty exacting standard

    by FluffyUnbound

    That means that when they put English subtitles on PAN'S LABYRINTH for its US release, they were "dumbing it down". They should have just made those of us who speak English and not Spanish fucking figure out what everybody was talking about from context. Right? Sign language is just that - a language. It's just as appropriate to subtitle it as it is to subtitle German or French or Swahili or Chinese.

  • Aug. 6, 2011, 8:29 p.m. CST

    goblinknight. I made an exception for manipulating jump scares.

    by Subtitles_Off

    I'm pretty sure those gasps are instinctive, though. I'm making a distinction between a reaction to a real surprise and the whoo-hoo you might get from riding a roller coaster.

  • Aug. 6, 2011, 8:37 p.m. CST

    It's likely you missed my point, fluffy.

    by Subtitles_Off

    But, I'm not going to try to argue with you if you're unwilling to think about it. I can hardly be accused of having a knee-jerk reaction against subtitles. My nickname is irony: I watch more than twenty movies a month, at least 70% of them foreign films. I can distinguish between a foreign language film, requiring translation for an English-speaking audience, and a film where the entire point is a need to learn how to communicate without verbal language. I can also dismiss subtitles that are a mere set-up for the punchline to a weak joke, especially since the film-makers dispense with the subtitles almost immediately and for the remaining third of the film. Like I said, unnecessary and an example of "dumbing it down." As for "exacting standards..." Have we met? I wear exacting standards more than I wear boxer briefs. Oh, and by the way, that's not a weakness on my part.

  • Aug. 6, 2011, 8:44 p.m. CST

    goblin, I got no problem with the signing. None at all.

    by Subtitles_Off

    I got no problem with the grunts or other naturalistic communication displays, either. I don't even have much of a problem, for the sake of a sci-fi fantasy, with the over-night super-intelligence-that-comes-in-a-spray-can thing. I just happen to believe there's a righter choice and a wronger choice that a director makes when making a film. In the case of RISE, a film I give an opposable thumb up to, the CGI and the subtitles and the over-exposition are the wronger choices. So is the omnipresent music score. Talk about distracting!

  • Oh and the movie was good too! Favorite movies I saw this summer... 1.)Captain America 2.)Rise of The Planet of The Apes 3.)A Better Life 4.)13 Assassins (I know it did'nt release this summer but I saw it this summer so...) 5.)XMen First Class