Rise of the Planet of the Apes hereafter known as ROTPOTA stars James Franco, Frieda Pinto, John Lithgow, and Andy Serkis. The film is centered around an ape named Caesar who inherited a special drug that was taken by his mother. Caesar’s mother was test subject for an Alzheimer antidote drug. Caesar gets taken home by Will Rodman, the man who invented the drug. What follows in the film is a special relationship between Will and Caesar from Cesar’s point of view. Caesar is eventually removed from Will’s care after he attacks one of Will’s neighbors. While in the ape center Caesar learns the cruelty of human beings and the pain apes have endured over the years.
The thing about ROTPOTA is that it basically erases all of the other previous films in the series. The director and screenwriters are making their own continuity and because of that you don’t need any previous knowledge other than the fact that apes exist. Andy Serkis does the motion capture for Cesar and his performance is involving and moving. All of the expressions on Caesar’s face are not only realistic but also genuine representations of what that character would feel in terms of emotion. The film works solely if you sympathize with what Caesar has to go through. The film is not filled with many action set pieces, but when the apes get angry bad things happen. This film has a lot of heart and I think it exists to teach and remind humans of their own humanity. I also think the film works to show the audience what can be accomplished in life through kindness and being understanding of others. Caesar is a rare character, he has no life goals or skills that would make him want success. The only thing that matters to Caesar is whether or not he feels loved and understood. I think that is what makes him as a protagonist so likable. He has no agenda. He just wants to be cared for and to care for others. Small children should not be allowed to see this film because it will terrify them. For everyone this film is essentially summer viewing. ROTPOTA teaches us to cherish what we have and I for one am thankful they reminded me of that. Apes may be considered our closest ancestor but they are also a group we can learn much from.
I’ll see you at the movies!