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    Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes -- James Franco Raises A Monkey

    "Do it for Dunstin!"

    The reason why I’m calling this almost-reboot, mixed with an almost-remake is simple. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is a movie built upon bullet points and footnotes. The narrative functions like a drug addict explaining his awesome experience at this year’s Burning Man [spoiler: he got super-wasted]. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is what I’d call a ‘rejiggering’ of Conquer Of The Planet Of The Apes. But unlike Conquer, Rise doesn’t encourage viewers to Exacto knife their eyeballs to make the images stop. You’d think a film franchise based on a slightly above average b-movie’s success, would supplant it for being a goldmine to leave untampered -- or, at the very least, a platform to re-kick start Andy Dick’s career*. Hollywood now is different from Hollywood then.

    Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes doesn’t fail as a movie. It begins in a formulaic fashion and actually has a couple clever plot points, that spit-shines old themes into current topics. As a non-fan of the Apes movies, I took a shine to how the naming and classifying of Bright-Eyes was related to the iPod generation. However, don’t expect some deep, pithy comment on the ills of animal testing. In true, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes form, we speed right through that in order to satiate the common movie goers desires.

    That’s right. A giant monkey fight.

    "Look man, this has been good, but I gotta find myself. Still bros?" -- The movie in a nutshell

    The star of the show isn’t the surprisingly bland performance of James Franco. I mean who has time to act in a movie that’s just on-the-doubling-you to get to the next plot development? It’s the computer generated cinematics of WETA studios. Well, WETA and John Lithgow. Okay, Weta, Lithgow and Andy Serkis. But it’s a little unfair to give “the Serkis” highlights. Not because he’s undeserving of his work in the motion capture world, but, come on. Asking Serkis to deliver on behaving as a smarter-than-average ape? He can accidentally poop a better performance. I’d love to see him acting in a really daring role, like say, a mild-mannered stay at home dad.

    Any time given to invest in Franco’s relationship with Cesar is in montage-form. It’s like the movie is assuming you don’t have the tolerance for another stupid monkey movie, and perhaps the movie is calling you a stupid monkey for thinking so. So with this we get a couple montages of Cesar growing up and not getting into monkey fights. But this movie knows your bloodlust for a good ‘ole fashioned ape slap.’ So it hints at it. Teases you. In between all this, we have John Lithgow running into stuff and forgetting his lines. However, it’s the most amazing part of the film.

    I want to say that in context, this image makes total sense. I'd be lying though.

    Director Ruper Wyatt wanted you to be invested in Cesar’s maturation into full-blown Ape-bro. He also wanted you to buy into whatever shoe-horned romance Franco and Frieda Pinto found themselves having. I guess not every relationship is worthy of a montage. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is worth seeing because of John Lithgow. Playing the son of a scientist [Franco] suffering from Alzheimer's, Lithgow gives, and I’m not joking, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes an emotional ground.

    It’s when we get away from the only device keeping the movie together that we realize, this is barely a movie. When we think of every character in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, there are only two that have a developed background. The grandfather and the monkey. Why not just make a movie called, “Monkey and Paw Paw?” Franco isn’t given much of anything to work with, only that his job kinda sucks and his boss is a prick. What happened to mom? Does Frida Pinto’s parents approve of her dating an animal testing scientist? I joke, but seriously. We know nothing about these characters. Well, except that they love that precocious monkey.

    When the movie goes down the full-blown summer blockbuster route. Every trope is there. It’s like it turned into Gladiator, but for simians. However, the movie is still questioning the audience’s intelligence. Truthfully, they could have had all these escaping monkey’s punching and kicking humans a number of ways. However, it’s a blockbuster film. This means the dumbest of viewers should be able to understand that an invasion of any kind should always involve a national monument.

    Who knew glowing green cans of green stuff would lead to one of the biggest computer generated monkey fights of our time?

    In this case, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The action is frantic and people will enjoy this epic struggle between monkey and man. Because, I guess, there is an epic struggle to be had. However, I question if this particular fight needed to happen in the first place. The monkeys want to get away from humans, why not just let them? The monkeys are super-intelligent, but can’t help throwing stop signs and parking meters at their humanoid brethren? I guess when your only competition in theaters is nothing but trite comedies and The Smurfs, a film centered solely around a giant monkey fight looks Shakespearean by comparison.

    If you got nothing else better to do around the house and really like monkey fights, then give Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes a look.

    I give Rise Of The Plane Of The Apes...

    Gaze upon the one true evolved ape.

    The “What Would Apu Do?” Award



    *Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I love Andy Dick, he’s got problems, but don’t we all? Probably not as many as him though.

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