Yeah, I hinted to you in that clue last time that I was reviewing a “Planet of the Apes” movie. I may or may not get to the original series at some point, but I’m gonna focus on the rebooted series for now. (On a mostly unrelated note, I’m actually writing the reviews for this movie and its direct successor on Monday, even though the predecessor’s review will come out on Monday, and the successor’s on Tuesday. Why? I figure one a day is enough for my readers. Oh, and for certain movies, I’ll be posting a score about what the movie means to me on top of the more “objective” score I have for the movie from now on. Not for all movies, just a couple, like “King Kong.”)
Anyway, this is the first movie in the umbrella “Planet of the Apes” franchise I ever saw, as I was raised by a father who didn’t care for the original movie as much as many people do. So, what did we think of this movie? Let’s find out…
If there’s one positive thing I can say about the story here, it’s that it’s miles better than the stories written by James Cameron himself (the effects were done by his company). (I generally like his movies quite a lot, but the stories are easily the weakest aspect of them.) Also, the story knows a lot about how to build up what happens at the end and delivering on what it promises at the end. With that said, though, the story isn’t perfect; it has some rather glaring plot holes that, to the movie’s credit, would probably take many viewings to spot, but once you do spot them, they’ll stand out like signposts. However, none of the aforementioned plot holes are ruinous to the overall product, and the story is rather refreshingly original. The first time I saw it in the theater, I genuinely had no idea where the story was going to go. (Well, I knew the general direction the story was likely to go, but even that was subject to quite a lot of surprises.)
I do have a lot more to say than that, but I think I’ll save that for later; for now, I’ll just say, it’s very solid, and surprisingly thoughtful to boot.
Story Grade: 88% (B+)
Caesar and Will share a genuine friendship that is helped tremendously by the restrained pace of the story, which allows you to really care about what happens in the story even before the climactic action scene. Caroline is rather bland (apologies to Frieda Pinto, but it’s true), but Charles (Will’s father) definitely isn’t. Caesar is quite interesting himself, and his body language is outstanding. The other apes (Maurice the orangutan especially) are also quite interesting. And I’ll shut up and give this area a grade now.
Characterization Grade: 95% (A)
It’s… well-written, but it’s rather basic, so there’s not a whole lot to say.
Script Grade: 90% (A-)
This is one of the few areas that isn’t so strong. The actual execution of the non-dialogue aspects of the scenes is excellent. The actors, however, suffer a little, often giving monotone deliveries where they’re decidedly not welcome (like a scene where they’re supposed to be happy or just neutral). With that said, though, it’s not… awful, so…
Direction Grade: 78% (C+)
As I said, the actors aren’t given a whole lot of favors (except for John Lithgow), but the body language on the part of the apes is, as I said before, outstanding. Andy Serkis (Caesar) is often considered the “Master of Motion Capture” for a reason.
Acting Grade: 82% (B-)
The final action scene is really large-scale and packed with surprises, to boot. The way that they did it all the way they did is really impressive to me, and, as I said earlier, the fact that you care about what’s happening is a huge bonus.
Action Grade: 100% (A+)
You might be wondering why I haven’t talked about the motion capture yet, and the reason is that it’s all in the execution. I will say that it’s done with the best care possible. What more do you want me to say?
Execution Grade: 95% (A)
When I saw the movie in the theater, I thought it was close to amazing, and though it’s since lost a bit of luster, nothing has diminished its overall impact much. My father even said that it was better than the original movie. Yeah, so what’s my grade?
Final Grade: 85% (B)
Tomorrow will see the publication of my review of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” and the next day will see the publication of my review of “War for the Planet of the Apes.” After that, I’ll move on to something else. What is it? You’ll have to see. Bye!