philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)
When "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" started getting some positive buzz I made a point of working through the previous movies in the series. Having now seen the latest entry, it's time to rank the series:

8. Planet of the Apes (2001)

I didn't think this was all that bad when I first watched it, but then again I was less critical of movies in general back then anyway. This has not aged well. The first thing I noticed was the very obvious actors-on-springboards effect being used. I know that apes can jump higher than humans and clearly Burton thinks this effect is very dramatic, but it was so over-used that it quickly started feeling comical.

Even Paul Giamatti's orangutan character, who I remembered quite fondly from seeing this when it came out in the cinema, seems way too cheesy here. The purpose that Mark Wahlberg's protagonist serves is also hard to understand, not just because of his ridiculously uncharismatic and boring performance, but also because all the humans can speak and all the humans think being enslaved by apes is a bad thing. It's not at all obvious why he would be able to shake up the social status quo.

Burton clearly wanted to use this movie as an opportunity to shove together a bunch of quirky visuals, but I have to say it now looks particularly obviously like a set. And to be frank, I wasn't keen on his little touches. The ape with the music box getting his human with dwarfism to dance? It might have been a nice touch if the rest of the film was well-handled, but in this film it's just one more groan-worthy element among many.

The big thing to complain about here is the ending, but there's a very simple change which could save the ending. Take General Thade's name off the monument! General Thade is the big villain in the film and at the end of the story the apes are nowhere near mastering advanced human technology like computers and Thade is pretty much traumatised by his misuse of a ray gun. The idea that Thade could have flown a spacecraft in his lifetime (never mind all the other stuff that we are expected to believe he could have done to make the ending possible) is ridiculous. But the idea that apes could eventually master these things is perfectly reasonable. And you've got to give Tim Burton some credit in that, regardless of how little sense it makes, the ending IS a powerful visual. I immediately wanted to see the original movies to understand what it all meant.

Talk about unnecessary remakes... I mean, frankly ALL remakes and reboots are unnecessary until the point where they turn out to be good. And it turns out that Tim Burton's remake is frikkin' appalling.


7. Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

It's confusing how so many of the Planet of the Apes movies have low age ratings. Admittedly the UK rating wasn't quite so confusing. Planet of the Apes was given an "A" for 'adult' (which meant children might need adult supervision). But in the US the movie had a 'G' rating. This low age rating wasn't consistent though. Somehow 'Beneath', in spite of moments of pure nightmare fuel, still kept the G rating and it wasn't until, Conquest, the movie preceeding Battle, that the rating finally went up to PG. But with Battle the rating went right back down again.

The reasoning was that the series had always been aimed at children and Battle was supposed to mark the end of the movies and the beginning of the tv series. So as a result, Battle, a film which really ought to feature a big violent conflict, is far tamer than Conquest before it. The budget also seems to reflect the tv quality that would come later.

All this being said, there's a reason why I prefer this to Tim Burton's remake. Burton's movie might be prettier, but Battle still has Roddy McDowall playing the character of Caesar and the characters still feel endearing. Battle retains the heart of the series, even if it lacks the excitement and the brains. I would argue that "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" owes a lot to the basic set-up provided here.

With all that being said, let me just make clear that "Battle" is a load of rubbish. But endearing rubbish. It's a terrible way to end the initial 5 movie series, but as a low point in a series now spanning 8 movies, it's not all that shameful.


Click here to read the rest of my rankings for the "Planet of the Apes" series... )
philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Ten years have passed since Caesar led an ape exodus out of San Francisco into the sanctuary of a redwood forest. The group of apes he united from an ape sanctuary and a medical testing facility are now living in peace within a forest. The society has been mostly isolated from human beings, since they've been far too busy dying off after ill-effects from the same virally-transmitted treatment which made the apes so smart in the first place.

The apes now all communicate through sign language, but Caesar occasionally emphasises points by saying key phrases out loud. Speaking out loud seems to take special effort, but clearly this ability is part of what marks Caesar out as the leader, albeit along with a reputation for wisdom.

However, his closest friend no longer appears to be Maurice, the circus orangutan (whose sign language ability was remarkably strong even before receiving the brain-enhancing treatment). Now Caesar appears to be very close friends with Koba, who we'll all remember from the previous movie as the ape covered in scars from medical testing.

A new character to appear here is Blue Eyes, Caesar's son, who finds himself receiving somewhat conflicting advice over the course of the movie from Caesar and Koba, particularly when the ape settlement is visited by a group of humans who are armed with guns...

Click here to read the full review... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

A remake of "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" with references to the series in general, solutions to transition problems in the original movie series, providing a massive increase in confidence in the franchise after Tim Burton's travesty and making me seriously excited about the possibility of a sequel.

Also, even if you don't bother to read the rest of the review, be aware that once the credits start rolling you need to stay seated for about a minute before you get up to leave. There's a little extra bit (though thankfully you don't have to wait for the credits to finish, like in recent Marvel movies, in order to see it).

Read more... )

(video link)


I normally don't do one of these but with all the references to old Planet of the Apes movies, I felt I needed to list at least a few of them. Naturally that means the section below will contain spoilers for the new movie and (if you haven't seen them) for the old movies too.

Read more... )
philosoraptor42: (Default)
Okay, so I haven't seen the movie yet. Haven't been to the cinema in a while now, but after some remarkably positive reviews I'm actually seriously planning on seeing "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" some time next week.

I'm about to go through some of my views on the Planet of the Apes movie franchise. But don't worry if you haven't seen them yet. I'm planning on having minimal spoilers. If you've seen the trailer for Rise and you've seen the front cover of the DVD for the first movie then you probably don't have too much to worry about.

Read more... )

So here comes the interesting bit. What with Rise having already been a success, they director is (unsurprisingly) willing to consider a sequel. He sounds quite excited about the possibility of what he calls "Full Metal Jacket with apes". The idea would seem to be that they spend rather longer sorting out how we get from an ape uprising to a genuine Planet of the Apes, possibly without going down the 'complete nuclear holocaust' route.

Presuming I don't hate Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I'm actually pretty excited. :)

(Via Filmdrunk)

(Source for director's sequel ideas)


philosoraptor42: (Default)

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