I had a sort of a Planet of the Apes mini-marathon on Tuesday.  I made plans to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in the evening but hadn’t yet seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  I had always meant to see it, just never gotten around to it.  In full disclosure I’m a bit of a Plant of the Apes rookie.  I am well aware of the Charlton Heston series of movies, but have never seen them.  I also didn’t see the Mark Wahlberg remake. Honestly my biggest exposure to PotA is from The Simpson’s Dr Zaius musical.

So I finally had an excuse (and a need) to finally watch my first Planet of the Apes movie… and it was really good. Why didn’t I see Rise of the Planet of the Apes it in the theater? I’m very disappointed in myself. The one advantage of having not previously seeing the first movie, is that I got instant gratification from seeing the sequel later that day.  No having to wait and wonder what happens, just go see the sequel. Except now I am bummed that I’ll have to wait years (instead of hours) for resolution of what happens next.

Cesear is species-ist (racist on a species level) against Humans.

Caesar is species-ist (racist on a species level) against Humans.

 

To be fair, Comissioner Gordon is also species-ist against Apes.

To be fair, Comissioner Gordon is also species-ist against Apes.

 

Normally CGI doesn’t move the needle much for me.  Obviously I’d rather have good effects than bad, but cool special effects isn’t enough for me to see a crappy movie.  For some people some cool effects are enough to enjoy a stinker, but I need more than that.  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had more than that, but it also had noticeably amazing special effects.  Several times during the movie I remarked (to myself) how real and amazing the apes looked.  It was strikingly good.  I have a hard time believing it was all CGI.  The only other way they could have made it look more realistic was if they taught actually chimps to hold machine guns.  Not only would PETA freak out, but the apes might look fake because they wouldn’t be natural with the guns.  Kind of like someone who doesn’t smoke pretending to smoke.

Anyway, I really liked this movie. Right after it ended I thought it was Really Good but after having slept on it I’m upgrading the Apes to Great. I thought this movie did a good job of building a “buy-in-able” premise (obviously it is a stretch, but not a groan-inducing stretch).  I was satisfied enough with the back story to be on board and invested.  It also did a good job of establishing the moral compass of the movie without being corny or having preachy monologues.  The movie was thought provoking for me in regards to bad/good and civilization/anarchy.

Here’s my quick summary.  This movie had an intriguing story.  It had good multi-dimensional characters.  It had great special effects and CGI.  It was entertaining.  And it was all set in San Francisco and Muir Woods, 2 favorite places where I used to live.  Ultimately it left me hungry for more (which is an important indicator). That’s a recipe for a “Great” movie that I want to see again.

Final Verdict: “Great”

DVD: I liked this one enough that I will buy the DVD

RT Audience Score: 93

CinemaScore: A-

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IMDB Rating: [imdblive:rating]

Director: [imdblive:directors]

Cast: [imdblive:cast]