Overall Grade: (A)
A compelling reboot to one of the most famous science-fictions film franchise that pulls the series out of the 60’s and into present time with ease.
I remember seeing this one the weekend it was released in theaters and given my history with the franchise I had lower than usual expectations of what the final result would be. I wasn’t even born when the ‘Apes’ took Hollywood by storm in the late 60’s so my familiarity with them was minimal.
I can still remember Tim Burton’s remake in ’01 starring Mark Wahlberg and Tim Roth and other than the amazing make-up effects I was less than impressed with his interpretation no mater how close to the original it tried to be.
Ten-years later the ‘Apes’ are back and given a quality restart to a famous film franchise. Relative Hollywood newbie Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist 2008) directs this reboot to the series with a solid cast consisting of James Franco (Homefront 2013), Andy Serkis (The Adventures of Tintin 2011), Freida Pinto (Immortals 2011), John Lithgow (This is 40 2012) and Brian Cox (Red 2 2013).
This film was a great example of the result a good story and today’s special-effect can bring to the cinema. CGI gets mixed reviews, to some they are excellent and bring films to another level of entertainment, to others they view films with too much computer imagery as a ‘Popcorn Flick’ not to be taken seriously. This reboot was a well told story of a familiar genre to many. A solid aspect of this one was that while it was completely different than the 1968 film, it is truly an excellent re-imagining of the franchise starting from the ground up.
Andy Serkis continues his excellent work and mixed with cutting edge special-effects the character of Cesar is captivating and multi-layered. With no spoken work the film is able to convey the progression of the character from birth through many ranges of emotions until his ultimate revelation in the third-act.
With body gestures and camera angles the intrigue and emotion of Cesar are delivered with tremendous success and pull the viewer into his range of situations. Not to forget amazing facial expressions that in the end speak much more than any written line could hope. This gives the film the rare ability to pull off a captivating take without a true antagonist by giving the theme of a more actions/consequences scenario.
The cast was great and all delivered solid performances. Other than Cesar, I felt John Lithgow delivered a captivating role and managed to draw much impact with his collection of scenes. He is a veteran in the business and added some finesse to a small character that if played by someone else would have not received a second thought. The script had a great pace and told an excellent story served with a perfect blend of science-fiction, drama, action and plenty of intrigue.
Overall this was a great film and even if you have never seen the prior films in the franchise or have never really liked them, this reboot will be much different. It uses film elements that many audiences can enjoy while still holding true to the main premise. This is a great watch and with a sequel coming up this summer giving this one another viewing will not disappoint.