|Original title:||Rise of the Planet of the Apes|
|Genre:||Fantasy, Adventure, Action, Drama|
|Production country:||USA 2011|
|Running time:||Approx. 104 min.|
When the novel Planet of the Apes by Frenchman Pierre Boulle (1912 - 1994) was filmed in 1968, surely no one suspected that this theme would still be far from complete over 40 years later. The original film with Charlton Heston was followed by four sequels, a TV series, an animated series and a remake. Only the musical featured in an episode of The Simpsons has yet to become a reality. After Tim Burton's 2001 version of Planet of the Apes did quite well at the box office but barely convinced critics and fans, director Rupert Wyatt is now venturing a complete reboot of the saga.
Planet of the Apes: Prevolution starts in the present day. Young researcher Will Rodman (James Franco) is conducting research on a cure for Alzheimer's disease on behalf of big pharmaceutical company Gen-Sys. Although his intentions are quite personal, as his father (John Lithgow) has Alzheimer's, Will remains professional throughout his research. When one of the monkeys Will is testing the potential drug on shows an amazing growth in intelligence, the researcher already thinks he's at the goal of his dreams. But then the monkey suddenly becomes extremely aggressive, runs amok in the research center and is shot by security. So Will and his team have to start from scratch.
But then Will discovers the real reason for the ape lady's aggressiveness: she just wanted to protect her baby. Now Will takes little Caesar in - only to discover a short time later that he seems to have inherited his mother's drug-induced intelligence. But even though Caesar is almost part of the family and his development becomes more and more impressive as the years go by, Will will soon realize that the arrogance of humans to want to put themselves above the laws of nature will take bitter revenge.
Planet of the Apes: Prevolution is literally an evolution. First, of course, in technical terms. There are no humans behind ape masks here. Even if these were always up to snuff in the old films, and could really wow in Tim Burton's film, they always seemed kind of artificial. The latest film was shot with the so-called motion capture method. So the apes were played by humans, but they got their damn realistic look on the computer. Caesar, the main character of this film, is embodied in front of the camera by Andy Serkis, who has already lent his facial expressions and gestures to Gollum and King Kong. Serkis has provided a great template for the animation geniuses at WETA, who use the same technique here that they used on Avatar. Through his portrayal, Caesar comes to life and convincingly transforms from lovable pet ape to menacing leader of the ape army over the course of the film.
The computer was used to give the apes a partially photorealistic look. Only baby Caesar still looks very obviously computer generated. The mix of human renderings and computer animation believably brings the film's apes to life, though the creators have perfectly avoided overly humanizing the animal protagonists. And that's exactly what makes the film so effective.
While there are small hints here and there in the story that it's set a few years in the future, overall it feels very grounded in present-day reality. Certainly, Planet of the Apes: Prevolution is first and foremost an entertainment film. But like the original Apes films, this reboot is characterized by a somewhat satirical tone in parts, and a very serious examination of problems in our society and ethical issues of our generation on the other. Behind the high entertainment value of the film are many very intelligent and clever ideas that lift this blockbuster well above the level of usual popcorn entertainment.
Director Rupert Wyatt, who made a name for himself with the insider tip The Escapist, has found just the right mix of entertainment and ambition, of suspense and effects action. What the film can be criticized for, however, is that for all its perfectionism, the human characters remain somewhat flat and template-like. It is true that John Lithgow can once again inspire and James Franco also delivers a decent performance. But especially Freida Pinto, who is not allowed to do more than look pretty, and Tom Draco Malfoy Felton, who delivers an extremely clichéd creep, seem completely lifeless, especially compared to Caesar and Co. But this hardly detracts from the film's overwhelmingly positive overall image.
Through some very neat allusions to the 1968 film, Planet of the Apes: Prevolution in itself works well as a direct prequel to the original. On the other hand, the film also perfectly paves the way for potential sequels, which - if they become a reality - will hopefully be able to maintain the level of this work. Planet of the Apes: Prevolution is probably the biggest and most positive surprise of the cinematic summer, a great entertainment film that offers fodder for the eye as well as the intellect. And that's exactly what makes this film: absolutely recommendable!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp