Steen: Apes most memorable

If you thought this was going to be a cheesy remake of the “Ape” series of movies, which started in 1968 with Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter, you are in for a surprise.

From  the startling beginning, this show takes you on a multidimensional emotional ride, covering the gamut of human emotion—greed, compassion, love, cruelty, overcoming terrible adversity and going home against all odds.

The “ape character,” played so well by Andy Serkis, is so lifelike that he becomes “Caesar” very early on and we relate on so many levels with this species of primate.

This is not the first time that Serkis has starred using Motion Capture Technology. As in Gollum in Lord of the Rings and King Kong in 2005, Serkis doesn’t don a “monkey suit,” but rather the ‘ape man’ is captured using the  true scientific technology of digital puppetry to drive computer generated characters in real time—we saw another extraordinary example in Avatar

As Will Rodman (James Franco) tries to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, the disease which his father, incredibly played by John Lithgow (and for my money Lithgow is one of the most unappreciated actors in Hollywood), he turns to an engineered retrovirus for the seemingly magical cure, with drastic and terrible results.

Probably the most telling quote of the Rise of the Planet of the Apes is: “Some things aren’t meant to be.”

I don’t know if this will be the blockbuster that it is touted to be, but it will sure get people talking. And while this certainly is not for the faint hearted, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a sure contender for an array of awards and has already grossed $54 million in its first weekend.

Director Rupert Wyall has given us a sometimes disturbing human story from which we might ask where do we stop in the pursuit of the super cure?

Or, just because it can be done, should it be done?

Don’t leave as the first of the credits roll—there is a tidbit that leaves a few more questions.

I liked this one, but don’t take young children, this is no cute monkey movie.

My bet is that it’s going to stay with you as one stand out in a summer of mediocrity. There are not a lot, but there are some truly over-the-top scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seats.

I give Rise of the Planet of the Apes four bananas…er reels.





Susan Steen is a local non-profit executive and movie buff.





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