At long last, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" swings into theaters, delivering a reboot that hopes to do to the "Apes" series what "Batman Begins" did to the DC Comics franchise. In many ways, it hits that benchmark. In other, more human ways, it doesn't quite measure up. But despite its flaws, the high points of "Apes" are so above and beyond the lows that there's almost no reason for popcorn movie enthusiasts to skip out on this latest summer crowd pleaser.
In case you're still on the fence, click past the jump to check out five reasons why you should see the newest "Planet of the Apes."
From plotting and writing the character to motion capture master Andy Serkis' physical execution of the ape, there's little doubt that Caesar is one of the best heroes (or anti-hero, depending on your stance) that you'll see all summer. Caesar isn't just a supporting special effects gimmick; he's a full-fledged character with a genuine arc that ranks among the very best of the year. Personally speaking, in my book, he sits only one step behind Michael Fassbender's Magneto as the most watchable main character of any movie this summer season. That's pretty darn impressive for a creature that doesn't even really exist!
Lay as much of the responsibility for Caesar's success on the writers and director Rupert Wyatt as you want, but in the end, it all comes down to Serkis. The man is utterly unparalleled when it comes to the motion capture performance, and Caesar may very well be his greatest achievement to date, Gollum included. It's a powerful, poignant performance that leaves one wondering just why in the hell Serkis hasn't picked up a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Oscars by now. It won't be long before public perception turns in his favor, because Serkis' unfair amount of talent seen here (everywhere, really) is becoming absolutely impossible to ignore.
Weta Workshop and the Other "Apes"
Caesar and Serkis are the decisive highlights of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," but they're not the only chimps that get to have a lot of fun. The folks at Weta Workshop — the fantastic special effects team responsible for "Lord of the Rings" and other projects — are given a gorgeous playground to lord over in "Rise," and no one's complaining about their lunch money getting stolen. Every single ape has character, personality, physicality and believability on their side thanks to the wonderful work of Weta and the men and women following Serkis' motion capture lead, resulting in some of the most impressive visual effects work not just of the summer season, but in the entirety of cinema.
The Golden Gate Bridge
Really, saying anything is saying too much. Suffice it to say, the San Francisco landmark provides a beautifully brutal playing field for the blockbuster's final act.
Fine, one more word: BUUUUUCK!
The "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" Rises
Maybe the best thing I can say about "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is that I really, truly cannot wait for a sequel to this movie. The way things are left off in the story combined with the breathtaking talent pushing the effects forward provides the foundation for what's sure to be "The Dark Knight" to this reboot's "Batman Begins." In other words, go see this movie right now — your hard-earned ticket money will help determine whether or not this impressive reboot launches the "Apes" franchise in the direction we all need it to go in.
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