Before I begin, I must offer a “Woo hoo!” to “The Help,” which I reviewed last week. It has climbed to the top of the box office, thanks to positive word of mouth. But another film, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” also has been topping the box office for weeks now. I was reluctant to buy my ticket and unsure as to whether I’d enjoy my time in the cage.
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is a prequel to the series of five “Apes” films. I don’t count the Mark Wahlberg/Tim Burton remake. Sorry, guys. The majority of those movies debuted in the ’70s, and the franchise is one of my favorites in science fiction cinema — right up there with “The Terminator” and “The Matrix.” ( I’ll say “Star Wars,” too, so nobody tackles me on my way home.)
When I first heard the news of another “Apes” chapter, I was afraid the story wouldn’t fit into the continuity and that digitally rendered primates wouldn’t look real. Oh my goodness! I’m pleased to say I was wrong. I can’t tell you how many people stopped me last week to tell me how good this movie was. I had to see it for myself and I was totally surprised.
The film nestles into the continuity perfectly to create a never-before-seen first chapter. Fans of the Charlton Heston picture will not just hear some of their favorite lines tossed into the mix for nostalgia’s sake, but they’ll notice as his fateful space voyage is mentioned in the background.
Andy Serkis, the actor behind King Kong and Gollum, has done it again. As Caesar, he is 100 percent believable.
My only critique is that James Franco and Frieda Pinto did not impress me much. Any other actors could have done the same job.
Still, this one had a great story. Kudos to John Lithgow, who always does a good job acting. And kudos to Tom Felton. Yes, you heard me, the Draco Malfoy actor is in this picture! I’m a fan!