This summer, I have been watching a lot of movies, more movies than I typically watch in theaters due to my current separation from family and friends in Alexandria. It may be slightly loserish, but my Fridays for the past 5 weeks have been spent in movie theaters. I try to see all the “big” movies, but lately I have been avoiding the new movie of the week that comes out “rotten” according to Rotten Tomatoes, which has served me well the past few weeks.
The two big movies that came out this weekend were Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Change-Up. I considered the latter until it was certified rotten, so I was left with Planet of the Apes. I wanted to watch Attack the Block, but it is still limited and not yet here. The last five movies that I have seen have been “fresh” (Captain America, Harry Potter, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Friends with Benefits, and Horrible Bosses), and this one definitely did not disappoint.
I’ll avoid a lot of plot stuff because you can find out what it is about elsewhere, but the thing that I found most remarkable about the movie was the performance of Andy Serkis as Caesar, the primary “ape” that rises. I think that since he is motion-captured the entire movie, he won’t get a whole lot of love come Oscar time, but he truly played Caesar as a creature that you start to feel for, and he emotes more without saying anything since Tom Hanks in Cast Away (well, maybe not that long ago, but still pretty impressive). With the way that technology is, I don’t see how you can say that he wasn’t playing the character, since he was in scenes acting with James Franco the entire time they shot the movie. He was only monkified later digitally, which saves the audience from seeing a guy wearing a monkey costume, as in the original Planet of the Apes. Truly an amazing performance.
The second thing that I thought was great was how they hinted at the sequel. Usually, when you know a movie is the first of a potential franchise, they blatantly show you where the next story is coming from. In this film, while part of a possible link is blatantly obvious as the movie ends (and a brief pre-credit snippet expands on), the other is more subtle. I didn’t quite recognize it myself until after the movie was over. Fans of the original movie might catch it as well, but I thought the 20 seconds that did it were well hid.
Overall, I would rate this movie as 9 out of 10 stars. It has replaced Captain America as my favorite movie of the summer, and I don’t see anything coming down the pike that will replace it until the fall. If you get a chance to see this one in theaters, I would highly recommend it. Just try to get there early so you don’t end up in the second row like I did.
Until next time…