Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Directed by Rupert Wyatt
Starring James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis, David Oyelowo, Brian Cox, Tom Felton
Release Date: August 5, 2011
Next to Star Trek the Planet of the Apes series is my favorite science-fiction and adventure film franchise by far. I can watch each one of the films, even the lesser sequels like Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes, and come away with something new to think of every time. Each film was a bold and heady Molotov cocktail of intriguing ideas, complex characters, pitch-black satire, and rousing adventure. With the exception of Battle, none of the films ever reached a fully optimistic conclusion, and despite some last-minute tinkering not even the ending of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes was all sunshine and relaxed laughter. The movies were all about the downfall of the human race, brought down by their own imperial arrogance and replaced in the pecking order by the highly evolved apes once treated as pets and slave labor by the ruling elite. It’s certainly one of the most influential series of films in the history of the medium, the original genre franchise, and a merchandising powerhouse years before Star Wars and Harry Potter even existed.
Even though the series reached its end in 1973 with Battle, the Apes franchise endured for decades to come; there was an ill-advised attempt to relaunch the Apes film series in 2001 with the Tim Burton-directed “reimagining” of the original Planet of the Apes and attempts to keep the Planet of the Apes thriving in live-action and animated television that never had achieved the impact of the films. Now the series is getting another shot in the arm with the long-awaited prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which approaches the legend of the Planet of the Apes from an interesting new direction.
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