Everything else got rebooted, and in 2011, it was Planet of the Apes turn. I did like this movie, but it contains absolutely no surprises. Did you watch the trailer? That’s as good a summary as any.
I liked the allusions to the original: Caesar, Bright Eyes, “Get Your Paws Off Me, You Damn Dirty Ape,” all that stuff was fun. I have no idea where Andy Serkis ends and digital animators begin, but the performance is excellent. James Franco… you know, it’s James Franco. He’s a fine actor, but he’s just very James Franco. It was fun to see John Lithgow do his thing, particularly doing something I’d never seen him do before.
The pacing is a little slow… I thought for sure this movie was over two hours, but it actually clocks in at 1:46. The bad guys are all super flat an uninteresting, especially the jerk and the ape reserve… it does help the audience cheer for Caesar, because you do want him to triumph over the bad guys, but then, it seems like you’re supposed to cheer for James Franco, and there’s really not much to cheer about as the movie goes on.
Not only does this movie not doing anything super risky (although I did appreciate the strong animal rights message) or surprising, it’s very clear exactly how the next sequel will go. You can tell exactly how humanity will fall and the apes will take their place as the dominate species on the planet, so we can’t expect any surprises in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, either.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is what it promises – no more, no less. I liked it, but I certainly didn’t love it: I’m giving it a 7 out of 10. It does a lot of things right, but it’s kinda plodding and takes no risks.