Running Time: 105 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A
You damn dirty apes, I was expecting, hoping even, for this clunkily-titled prequel to Planet of the Apes to be as poor as the trailers and premise suggested. Unfortunately for my dark side, this is not quite the case. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a long way off classic territory but it is worth a watch for some welcome escapism. True, TROTPOTA is going to be an instantly forgettable Summer blockbuster but sometimes that’s all you need when climate change ruins all your carefully laid tennis-playing plans.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is set in modern day San Francisco when genetic engineering experiments are in the process of giving apes limited intelligence. Will Rodman (Franco) makes friends with one such ape who seems to be almost human but after a series of social knockbacks the ape goes, well, ape and starts a primate revolution as they battle humankind for control of planet earth. The evolutionary story is pretty entertaining and gripping throughout albeit with a few plot holes along the way.
James Franco is on a roll and if he can make this work then he could be around longer than his Spanish namesake. Kudos for Andy Serkis too who has proved once again that he is the best in the business at making CGI characters believable and more than just a few (trillion) pixels. In addition, Cox and Lithgow provide some good support however Pinta lacks any kind of chemistry with Franco – it looked like there was more chance that Will and Caeser the ape would get it on.
It's Got: Good performances from Franco and Serkis, excellent CGI, an enjoyably throwaway quality
It Needs: More chemistry between the leads, to fill in a few plotholes
Alternatives:Demolition Man, King Kong, Planet of the Apes (1968 and 2001)
This prequel is much better than the awful title suggests as it exudes an enjoyably throwaway quality. A good way to spend the inevitably rainy summer days.