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THE F*CKING BLACK SHEEP: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Feb. 16, 2012by: Ryan Doom

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Directed by Rupert Wyatt

“It’s a movie that wants, no, craves to be top-notch science fiction. Too bad the thing fails.”

Everybody loves monkeys. We love them in business suits, in space suits, in cowboy attire. It’s funny… no one can deny it. Judging from the countless sequels, TV shows, and remakes, people love apes too. I do. Planet of the Apes is perhaps the finest sci-fi film ever. It’s socially aware without being heavy handed. It’s politically potent without dumbing it down for the dummies. And it’s good. The thing has some perfect one-liners, not to mention Charlton Heston pimping out chest hair and being a general badass. What’s not like?

If I ask the same question to latest adventure with apes -- Rise of the Planet of the Apes -- I’d answer there’s a lot not to like. It’s not the worst movie ever made; some aspects work damn well (namely the third act). With that said, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is made to look smart, to look socially aware, to look politically potent. A movie that wants, no, craves to be top-notch science fiction. Too bad the thing fails. Rise of the Planet of the Apes not only looks bad, but it lacks surprises, wit, or creativity. It lacks any true substance. Need evidence?

Evidence 1a) The apes, especially during the first two acts, look like shit, like digital creations (I’ll admit the effects improved as the film continued, but damage done). Yeah, they were digital creations and there's so filled with detail that they look realistic at times, but when they move they look unreal. It didn't work. Yeah, Andy Serkis stars as head ape Caesar and he performs his ass off, but dude doesn’t create the effects. Throughout the first half, little baby Caesar looked awful and at times laughable like a rejected demo reel for an effects dude. When you start laughing at the emotional high point because of the CGI, it's the death nail as it removes the viewer from the moment. Everyone knows all Planet of the Ape movies used costumes and masks before this one. They never looked perfect, but no one ever questioned it either. It became its own reality. With digital effects, the moment it doesn’t fit a scene, the moment someone laughs and jokes how fake the dumb monkey looks, the game is up. Like I said before, I can’t knock all the effects. As Caesar grows he looks fantastic, and the end it looks pretty sweet with a damn good action sequence, but I can’t like a movie based on a 15-minute sequence. It ain’t enough.

Evidence 2b) The plot. It blows. It’s obvious and dumb. The movie begins with scientist James Franco working on a serum to stop Alzheimer ’s disease by injecting it into apes. Just when he thinks it could be working, the project fails big time and is shut down by typical greedy businessman. Bummer. Meanwhile at home, Franco’s dad just so happens to suffer from the very same disease! Oh, the conflict! Really, as soon as John Lithgow (the dad) appears, did anyone not assume he’d be cured only to have it fail? It was perhaps the most predictable plot strand in years.

Likewise, the socially commentary here blows. Now I’m not saying I’m for animal abuse or that I dig Alzheimer’s, I hate that stuff. Boo to both. I am saying that Apes tries too hard to make a political or social statement. When it did it felt contrived and obvious. Also, Apes tried so hard to feel high tech and mildly futuristic that it creates a cold movie. Nothing seems authentic. The world never seems in jeopardy because it didn't feel enough like our world. Oh, and then there’s the time span. If I understood correctly, the movie takes place over the course of 5-10 years. A lot of shit can change but no one ages, the high tech technology never becomes more techy, and Franco never updates his wardrobe. It’s annoying when noticed.

Evidence 3c) The acting. I used to like James Franco. I really did. But with last year’s Oscars and his performance in this, well, he stinks. I never bought him as a super scientist. Not once. When interacting with Caesar, he looked like a guy who was talking to a hunched down man wearing a spandex uni-suit with ping-pong balls glued on. Franco couldn’t work with a fake ape, and emerges the fatal flaw. Parts pop up here and there that’ll keep viewers interested, but there ain’t enough of them. By the end, you’ll think back and remember a handful of scenes.

Lastly, enough with the homage to the old movies. If you wanna reboot the franchise, reboot it. Start fresh. Come up with your own catch phrases and iconic scenes. You can only milk the past so much.

GET RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES DVD HERE

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1:15AM on 02/21/2012
Bad effects? Really? Go watch a recent cough medicine ad featuring a CG ape, compare it to what was shown in Rise and then tell me the effects were bad.
Bad effects? Really? Go watch a recent cough medicine ad featuring a CG ape, compare it to what was shown in Rise and then tell me the effects were bad.
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+4
3:52PM on 02/18/2012
to each their own but have to say this is one black sheep Im a little surprised to see here. The movie was deemed a success (ergo public liked it), got really good reviews and while it wasn't as action loaded as i expected it to be i thought it was a damn good movie, and genuine surprise as i thought it would suck ass. Looking at the comments below Im definately not alone in my thoughts on this.
to each their own but have to say this is one black sheep Im a little surprised to see here. The movie was deemed a success (ergo public liked it), got really good reviews and while it wasn't as action loaded as i expected it to be i thought it was a damn good movie, and genuine surprise as i thought it would suck ass. Looking at the comments below Im definately not alone in my thoughts on this.
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1:49AM on 02/17/2012
You are 100% right! I agree with everything. I was so mad when I walked out of this putrid lame excuse for a Planet Of The Apes movie. What a MAJOR let down it was. Especially after all the hype it got.
Maybe if the cgi had been better it would've helped make it better, a bit at least, but it was so laughably badly done...or par with the Green Lantern cgi. Looked like the computer work had been made in the early 90s. Hell, Jurassic Park which was made in the eraly 90s had better cgi than this
You are 100% right! I agree with everything. I was so mad when I walked out of this putrid lame excuse for a Planet Of The Apes movie. What a MAJOR let down it was. Especially after all the hype it got.
Maybe if the cgi had been better it would've helped make it better, a bit at least, but it was so laughably badly done...or par with the Green Lantern cgi. Looked like the computer work had been made in the early 90s. Hell, Jurassic Park which was made in the eraly 90s had better cgi than this monkey turd!
One of my top 10 worst movies of ALL. TIME.
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12:17AM on 02/17/2012
the franchise is running out of National Landmarks to use! St Louis Arch is next I suppose. Possible the worlds largest thermometer in Baker, CA?
the franchise is running out of National Landmarks to use! St Louis Arch is next I suppose. Possible the worlds largest thermometer in Baker, CA?
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12:05AM on 02/17/2012

Way better than it should've been.

IMO.
IMO.
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-4
11:57PM on 02/16/2012

...curious little monkey

All I could think of for most of the film was that is was Curious George for grown-ups.
All I could think of for most of the film was that is was Curious George for grown-ups.
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9:58PM on 02/16/2012

It Was...

... An overrated film. Yet, it was still entertaining. I do agree that the CGI was not very good and in no way should there have been a push to get Serkis an Oscar nod. Also, it was very predictable. The only thing worse than the CGI in the movie was the grammar in the article. Dude, you need to print out your work and read it and not just rely on spell-check. But, all in all, it wasn't as great a film as everyone said it was.
... An overrated film. Yet, it was still entertaining. I do agree that the CGI was not very good and in no way should there have been a push to get Serkis an Oscar nod. Also, it was very predictable. The only thing worse than the CGI in the movie was the grammar in the article. Dude, you need to print out your work and read it and not just rely on spell-check. But, all in all, it wasn't as great a film as everyone said it was.
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11:03AM on 02/20/2012
Agreed on the bad grammar.
Agreed on the bad grammar.
+6
9:47PM on 02/16/2012
I personally loved this film. It was one of my favorites of the year... but I have to agree with the last point. When Malfoy yelled that iconic line, I cringed a little.
I personally loved this film. It was one of my favorites of the year... but I have to agree with the last point. When Malfoy yelled that iconic line, I cringed a little.
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8:39PM on 02/16/2012
Jeebus
Jeebus
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8:03PM on 02/16/2012
How on earth could you make this article and not comment on the worst part of the movie - Brian Cox's monkey pound? Where the f*ck did San Francisco come up with 40 wild apes that needed confinement? Were there numerous people who stole baby chimps that got loose? Made no sense, and was made infinitely worse by the ridiculous blonde "bad boy" who worked there. He looked like Johnny from Karate Kid + hated monkeys but worked at the monkey pound. And how on earth did they get all the chimps
How on earth could you make this article and not comment on the worst part of the movie - Brian Cox's monkey pound? Where the f*ck did San Francisco come up with 40 wild apes that needed confinement? Were there numerous people who stole baby chimps that got loose? Made no sense, and was made infinitely worse by the ridiculous blonde "bad boy" who worked there. He looked like Johnny from Karate Kid + hated monkeys but worked at the monkey pound. And how on earth did they get all the chimps to leave the play area and go to there cells so easily? Everything about that entire second act was contrived and absurd. ("you know sign language?") The third act was amazing, though it looked like there were about 80-90 apes running around when it was all said and done. I wonder how many apes there actually are in SF right now. Maybe like 10. All at the zoo.

Oh, and 5+ years of a chimp running around your house, and apparently the neighbors know about it, and this has somehow been just "happening"? Silliness.

I could get behind some of the silly plot points - as sci-fi fans, how can we act like we don't? But those two in particular are what made me roll my eyes more than anything. Still, act 3 was pretty much worth it.
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1:05AM on 02/21/2012
Regarding your first point, while it was a bit much to group all of the apes into one city, it is not completely uncommon for people (read:morons) to own wild animals, including chimps, as household pets only for (surprise, surprise) things to go horribly wrong and the animals either have to be locked up or put down. There's a rather upsetting story about a woman who got her face torn off by her friend's aggressive chimp. I'm not making this up, either. There's pictures of what's left her face
Regarding your first point, while it was a bit much to group all of the apes into one city, it is not completely uncommon for people (read:morons) to own wild animals, including chimps, as household pets only for (surprise, surprise) things to go horribly wrong and the animals either have to be locked up or put down. There's a rather upsetting story about a woman who got her face torn off by her friend's aggressive chimp. I'm not making this up, either. There's pictures of what's left her face that are quite gruesome. Even reconstructive surgery didn't help much, bit it was still in the early stages at the time (she was on a talk show then). Supposedly she's gone for more treatment since then, but don't quote me on that.
6:24PM on 02/16/2012

.

Well everyone has a right to their opinion, I disagree with this one. I thought it was well done summer fare.

Anyways, I thought this was a horror website? I know you guys review genere stuff but I'm still a little surprised to see this film have a whole column on AITH.
Well everyone has a right to their opinion, I disagree with this one. I thought it was well done summer fare.

Anyways, I thought this was a horror website? I know you guys review genere stuff but I'm still a little surprised to see this film have a whole column on AITH.
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6:38PM on 02/16/2012
This site tends to cheat sometimes.
This site tends to cheat sometimes.
6:09PM on 02/16/2012
I really dig it but did think it was a tad overrated...
I really dig it but did think it was a tad overrated...
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5:33PM on 02/16/2012
I think there's an argument to be made both ways. I think this movie has a lot of heart, and the fx pushed for that, but they didn't succeed all the time. A lot of the time it was obvious that they're CG fx, with a handful of stunning close-ups, and that amazing climactic action sequence. The movie was really over-hyped this past summer, which is a shame because it's a very entertaining, summer adventure, but it's not in league with the best of the year. There's good entertainments, and
I think there's an argument to be made both ways. I think this movie has a lot of heart, and the fx pushed for that, but they didn't succeed all the time. A lot of the time it was obvious that they're CG fx, with a handful of stunning close-ups, and that amazing climactic action sequence. The movie was really over-hyped this past summer, which is a shame because it's a very entertaining, summer adventure, but it's not in league with the best of the year. There's good entertainments, and then there's great films. This was a good entertainment.
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4:13PM on 02/16/2012
Totally completely disagree with everything.
Totally completely disagree with everything.
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+18
2:40PM on 02/16/2012
I completely disagree with every single point made here. Just....umm..wow.
I completely disagree with every single point made here. Just....umm..wow.
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-4
1:25PM on 02/16/2012
Seriously though... why cookie Rocket?
Seriously though... why cookie Rocket?
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+16
8:31AM on 02/16/2012
Get your filthy paws off this great movie, you animal-abusing, Alzheimer's -loving bastard! ;)
Get your filthy paws off this great movie, you animal-abusing, Alzheimer's -loving bastard! ;)
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