Never thought I’d say this about a movie. But “Rise” left me more sympathetic to the cause of the apes rather than the humans in it. In that respect, the movie works very well, because it puts me where the movie intends me to. Right behind the apes, and well, adamant, even probably felt justified about the fate of humanity as it was suggested by beautiful yellow dot and line graphics displayed at the end credits.
Some serious audiences would find an allegorical meaning behind “Rise.” About how that it was wrong playing God that even in altering few genes for the benefit of humans should never be even considered in the first place. But let’s take this at a face value. Dr.Will (James Franco) is a scientist proposing a new drug that he claims able to cure Alzheimer. One of his best test subject, a chimpanzee named Bright Eyes, was able to finish a Tower of Hanoi puzzle in twenty steps (against the optimal steps of fifteen). However, a misfortune occurred and all of his team’s test subjects were to put down. But it was later discovered that Bright Eyes was giving birth to Caesar, and his mother’s mutated genes naturally passed down to him thus giving him a natural near human-level intelligence. Dr.Will took him in, but age and understandings gradually made Caesar questioned his very existence, where he was fit in the society, and so forth. The rest is, well, history.
This movie is the seventh movie in the franchise. It is intended as the beginning of the franchise and as I’ve said before, I was actually surprised about how much I enjoyed this movie and even went as far as saying that it is, so far, the best movie experience I had in theater this year. Plot is not necessarily fluid, but taut. The humans role were downplayed to a point where it is almost insignificant, which is depending on whose side you’re on, could be either a good thing, or a bad thing. And the actors behind the apes were downright amazing. A full credit should be given to Andy Serkis (also as King Kong, and Gollum) who was mo-capped as the main ape of the movie, Caesar. His expressions, and body gestures during the latter half of the movie is, wow, scary. Had this movie goes full-CGI instead mo-capped, it won’t have this very same effect.
The apes are understandably, the center of this movie. This might oppose a problem if you didn’t like monkeys. But hey, I don’t like monkeys. For me, they’re scary, but I ended up rooting for them. So, go figure, huh? I’m not sure how many of the apes are mo-capped by human actors and how many are CGI-ed. But Caesar is definitely mo-capped and this, give the human actors, insignificant as they are, a more believable on screen interaction with the apes as oppose to had they were acted against a blank green screen. I especially liked James Franco’s expression during his very last scene on screen with Caesar. Believe me, I was moved. My chest pulled taut and my eyes were glassy. This scene alone is powerful enough to make this movie, a one of the few movies that leaves me with lasting impressions after the end credit rolls. And, by golly, these kind of movies are too few this year given the scarcity of imported films of late due to the imported tax problem and all.
All in all, a very good movie. A very enjoyable build-ups, driven by above average performances from James Franco and John Lithgow, and a suspenseful finale, driven by the amazing Andy Serkis and the rest of the apes. The battle of Golden Gate Bridge is especially memorable. This movie probably would end up among my best list of the year. Of course, I’ve still got a lot to catch up but for the time being, it’s enough to say that this is the best movie experience in theater I had this year so far.