Skip navigation

There are many things the film gets right, and a few it gets wrong: to have a modern, non-camp version of that often-told story is certainly brave, and they approach it with the seriousness and technical proficiency that is required to avoid stepping into the old men-with-ape-masks trap. The story of raising an artificially improved baby monkey, and dealing with the consequences of its intelligence, is well developed. To position the apes on the receiving end of cruelty and inhumanity is the obvious thing to do, and they do it well, that is to say in a way that allows you to sympathize with the apes, and develop solidarity with their rise, even though it will mean the end of mankind. The problems I see mostly in the terrible pacing: I found the effect of the drugs unnecessarily quick – so quick that it got me out of my cone of credulity. One shot and Alzheimer’s is cured? One shot and the monkey can write? And after a good dose of cleverness anti-perspirant, any monkey can learn sign language in a good evening of lessons?  And through increased intelligence, what monkeys learn is basically behave like humans, is that what we are led to believe? All in all, the proximity to human behavior was a bit too much all through the film, and wasted a bit of its plausibility for the effect of cuddliness or spectacle.

Still: James Franco is cute and solid, Freida Pinto is cute and cute, unfortunately not enough of her on screen, and I very much like John Lithgow as the father who falls in and out of Alzheimer’s. The opening scene where a monkey goes on a rampage through a lab is breathtaking, and sets the tone for the way the motion-captured apes are integrated in the film: as real characters, as physical as they can be in this day and age. The end of the film sets the stage for a couple of transition movies (Ape’s “Revenge of the Sith”, if you want), and I am actually rather looking forward to these. I want to see Caesar rise and lead the mutiny the way I want to see Robb of Winterfell lead the battle against all odds. And I am sure somebody unexpected will turn to the dark side before this war is won…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: