COLUMN: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”: a strong start to a great modern trilogy

Rob Le Cates

Drew Coffey is a sophomore television/video production major. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.

Drew Coffey, Columnist

Which one is that again? 

This may be the question from viewers when asking about his film as there have been many reimaginations and creative attempts with this series. However, this one was able to kick off what many say is the best film trilogy in recent years.  

The 2011 film is “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” directed by Rupert Wyatt and stars James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, and Andy Serkis as Ceasar.  

The film sees Franco playing a scientist who is testing a neurological drug on chimpanzees that could potentially cure Alzheimer’s and other diseases in the brain. After his best subject is killed, Franco’s character takes home and raises the child.  

To start, the most notable thing about these films are obviously the special effects. It seems that everything that Andy Serkis is involved in when it comes to CGI is extremely impressive.  

Caesar, played by Serkis, is essentially the main character of the film having many emotional scenes thanks to the breathtakingly realistic detail that is implemented into his facial design. Especially when Caesar is placed into a zoo-like environment surrounded by other chimps, we really see how being raised in a household has affected his perception of being an animal.  

There are many moments throughout the film where we see how Caesar is different than the other animals in that he has an established idea of right and wrong. However, as the film progresses, and he interacts with more chimpanzees, we see him tap more and more into his animalistic instincts and become a leader.  

The film is impressively able to give the chimps their own character traits and emotional moments which gives a fresh perspective on the story.  

The acting in the film is very good and is more impressive as they interact with these computer-generated chimpanzees, which can be a difficult task for an actor. Franco’s character and Caesar’s relationships is really what stuck with me throughout the film because it is not a owner-has-pet scenario as they both respect and truly care for one another.  

The most notable moment of the film for me is when Caesar finally speaks and shouts against his abusive captors. This moment not only shows his significance as a leader but shows his potential of leading the chimps against others.  

The film also does a great job of building suspense and tension with the chimpanzees. In most scenes, we never know if the chimps are going to attack or revolt against the scientists, which makes the suspense of these moments especially scary. 

The film is also nicely paced and never really has any dull or boring stints throughout, which makes the viewers want more of the film in a satisfying way.  

In terms of the series this film started, this first outing lays the ground and sets up many plot points for the second and third films. In those films, the realism of the chimpanzee effects only get better.  

Overall, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is an entertaining and visually stunning film that builds its story around the character of a chimpanzee which is creatively profound to watch.  

Overall rating: 4/5 

Drew Coffey is a sophomore television/video production major. He can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.