Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes: "Get Your Stinking Paws Off Me, You Damn Dirty Ape"

Director: Rupert Wyatt
Writer:    Rick Jaffa
                Amanda Silver
Starring: James Franco
                Andy Serkis
                Frieda Pinto
                Tom Felton
                John Lithgow
                David Oyelowo
                Brian Cox
Rating:   *****

This reboot of the famous Planet of the Apes series is an absolute triumph. Most remakes/reboots over the last few years have fallen flat, but not this one.

The film focuses on Will Rodman (Franco), a scientist working on a cure for Alzheimer's Diesease. In the facility he works they test their experiments on chimps, but one day things take a turn. When one of the chimps, Bright Eyes, attacks the building, all of the chimps are put down and all experiments are cancelled. After all the chimps are gone, Will finds a baby chimp who he takes home and cares for until he is grown up. One thing makes this chimp special, becuase his mother had been tested on, any side effects are passed on to him. The main side effect being hyper intelligence. When one day, when the chimp attacks someone, he is taken to a primate facility. This is where all of the chimps come together and attack. Franco gives a very believable and tender performance that helps you connect to him and his emotions.

Will's relationship with his father, Charles (Lithgow) is a very sweet and loving one. They share a unique and touching bond which is shown throughout. Charles suffers from Alzheimer's, and Will cares for him and does what he can to help him. Including injecting him with the serum he was testing on the chimps. Lithgow's portrayal of the character is very innocent and honest, and although I haven't experienced the disease myself, what he did with the character was very moving and believable. Will's girlfriend, Caroline (Pinto) is another sweet and caring character. She is very loyal to Will, but also his father and Ceaser, the chimp. Pinto gives another spectacular peformance that helps the film a tremendous amount.

To contrast with the three kind characters you have, of course, the villains. First the Father and Son duo, Dodge & John Landon (Felton & Cox). John owns the primate facility of which Ceaser is sent, and Dodge works there, feeding the apes and such. Cox gives John a sort of naive and in-over-his-head quality. As a villain he isn't necessarily evil, but he clearly isn't quite sure of how to care for, or run a facility like the one he is running. Felton as Dodge is the truly evil character. He tortures, bullies and does what ever he can to make the apes lives miserable. This resulting in their eventual attack on the human race. While it isn't a far stretch, acting-wise, from Draco Malfoy, it is a believable and excellent performance and really makes you feel for the animals. The other antagonist is the big boss at the testing lab, Steven Jacobs (Oyelowo). His desire for more money means he doesn't know when to stop, especially when it comes to testing on the animals. His performance isn't the best of the film, but it is good and it again helps the audience to sympathise with the chimps.

The most important part of the film, and in my eyes the best performance is given by Andy Serkis, the man behind Ceaser the chimp. His subtle and tender gestures make the character absolutely believable and you really do feel for him. His relationship with Will is also extremely sweet and it is really quite beautiful to see it unfold as the story goes on. I genuinely think this charcter and performance will go down in cinematic history, and if Serkis is overlooked this awards season it will be a travesty

The writing and directing is clever, moving and sweet and when everything is put together it really is a masterpiece. The special effects mean you can have real feelings for the apes, and with all of the performances combined it is a marvelous piece of work. I highly recommend you go out and see it, and I really hope it gets a whole lot of awards next year.