Went in Afraid – Walked Out Impressed

He just looks like he's tired of our crap and really, I don't blame him.

Now, before I begin, I really am still working on my art, school lesson plans, and my desire to knit.  If should also be known that I went through a HUGE Planet of the Apes phase at the end of my high school years and the beginning of my university studies.  I distinctly remember walking through the W.T. Young library at the University of Kentucky searching the top most floors for this one, small book by Pierre Boulle thinking I was the only one on campus wanting it.  I was wrong.  Planet of the Apes was out BUT, I was also on an Alec Guinness/William Holden kick as well and was happy to see that the same author wrote The Bridge on the River Kwai.  So, I checked Bridge out, went back to my dorm and watched Planet of the Apes.  (as an aside, The Bridge on the River Kwai was a really good book, and movie – movie may be better –  and I highly recommend it – sadly, I’ve still not read Planet of the Apes).

With the release of The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I was, like many others (i.e. my friends) concerned about what they were going to do to a series I love.  I felt the familiar rise in my stomach that I get now every Star Wars – Original Trilogy – is released.  You know, the whole “what did they do now?!” moment that just hits you in the gut.  With the Planet of the Apes series, that came when Tim Burton did his big re-do of the original movie.  While I thought the way the apes were portrayed was interesting, it’s not a movie that when I see it on T.V. I get excited about – not like I still do about the original Planet of the Apes…or Escape From the Planet of the Apes...heck, even Conquest of the Planet of the Apes!  Okay, I like all of the Planet of the Apes movies.  They are good watches that reflect the time period they were filmed in – late 60’s early 70’s America.  It doesn’t hurt that I love Roddy McDowall and have loved him in film since How Green Was My Valley – but I digress.

I’m happy to report that not only did Rise of the Planet of the Apes go above my expectations, it was a really, REALLY, good film.  James Franco does a wonderful job of playing the scientist searching for a cure to Alzheimer’s, a disease that his father is affected by, that has to take in a baby chimpanzee after its mother is killed trying to protect said baby.  That baby chimp is Caesar.  Caesar was exposed to the drug that Franco’s character is wanting to begin human trials with because no one realized that Bright Eyes (a reference to the nickname given to Charlton Heston’s character Taylor in the original PoA) was pregnant.  Due to this exposure, Caesar is extremely intelligent and learns at a rate higher than his human counterparts.

Now, I don’t want to give the film away.  I really just want everyone to know that this movie is worth your time and it will not poo on your memories of the original Planet of the Apes series.  The most impressive thing, to me, was believing in the characters – ape and human both – and believing in the possibility.  The plot isn’t ridiculous and the way the rise is explained was interesting.  It really made you think as a movie goer and I appreciated that.  It really has stuck with me all day today and I’d like to see it again.  Oh, and if you were wondering, yes, there are some references to the original movie, including the famous “Get your paws off me you damn dirty ape!,” but most were subtle and if you weren’t paying attention you might miss them (look for the Statue of Liberty reference – it was my favorite).

This scene broke my heart.

Now, go out there an enjoy some Planet of the Apes fun.  Whether it’s the original series or this new take on a great idea, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed….unless you watch the Tim Burton one…that one went to some weird places.  OH! Tom Felton, yeah, Malfoy, was good in the film as well.  That being said – Goodnight!

Quick question:  Why is Brian Cox so good at playing a complete ass?  Just wondering.