Rise of Planet of the Apes (US, 2011)

WTF?

I had low hopes for this despite the unusually good trailer; however I think it’s the best ‘summer’ movie I’ve seen this year. Usually I find CGI-based films poor as the special effects don’t work as effectively as they think and the emphasis is on them rather than the narrative. However, with the exception of some of the movement, the apes are absolutely terrific; the picture above gives as indication. In addition, it has an excellent narrative despite being an obvious set-up for a hoped-for franchise.

It’s rare in a Hollywood movie to be so divided between the ‘bad’ and ‘good’. Indeed, such a Manichean opposition is eschewed in this film, which makes for a wonderfully ambiguous experience in terms of ‘identification’ with characters. The Indian actress, Freida Pinto, is the ‘love interest’ and it’s good to see that, if in terms of sexual politics Hollywood still relegates women, her ethnicity is not an issue with the WASP James Franco. She also had the added bonus of helping sell the film internationally.

Don’t dash out of the end credits as it’s got a superb ‘set-up’ for the sequel.

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