12/20/11 UPDATE: Rise of the Planet of the Apes is now available on DVD. I recommend it highly, & when the time came for me to submit nominations to my two critics groups (the Chicago Film Critics Assoc & the Women Film Critics Circle), I nominated Andy Serkis both times for “Best Actor” honors 🙂
In the interim, I also saw the superb doc Project Nim (which I nominated in the Best Documentary category each time as well). Having now watched Project Nim, I am quite sure the Rise screenwriters had studied the details of Nim Chimpsky’s life, & having these two films available gives each one even more depth & breadth. Sometimes truth is “stranger than fiction,” but sometimes it takes narrative storytelling to get “inside” to the deepest levels of subjectivity. But enough philosophy: Bravo! Bravo!
Review Posted in August: Nothing makes my day more than walking into a film with low expectations & coming out on a high. And if it turns out that, unbeknownst to me, I’ve been watching something by a woman filmmaker all the while, then I’m beyond ecstatic.
And this is exactly what happened last Friday night (8/5/11). We were just back from vacation & I was pretty pooped, but it was my husband’s birthday & Rise was his choice, so in we went. Truth be told, altho watching Charlton Heston is always campy fun, I was never a big fan of the earlier Planet of the Apes films.
But reader: I loved this film! Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that the stars of this film are James Franco & Freida Pinto. The lead character is definitely “Caesar” (aka the ape who is on the rise) & Andy Serkis is absolutely remarkable as Caesar (just as he was in King Kong (2005) a few years back).
Using his voice & his eyes, this thrilling actor is the king of “motion capture,” & if I ruled the world he would definitely be a candidate for a Best Actor Oscar come February 2012. Shame on IMDb for putting his name so low in the credits!
Rise was written by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (the scribe behind The Hand That Rocks The Cradle), and in addition to their astute psychological grasp of cognitive development, the film delves into political territory that most filmmakers fear. (If you tell me Act Two is not an indictment of California’s privatized prison system, then I will simply roll my eyes & tell you to wake up.)
Kudos to director Rupert Wyatt & the entire Rise team. This is one franchise that might actually go the distance with me.