Okay, so for the record, I’m a big Apes fan. I own the original five films and have seen them repeatedly. I lined up to see Tim Burton’s entry back in 2001 (was disappointed that it was more of an action thrill ride than an actual social commentary or plot driven story like the original series’ legacy). I bought the DVD set years ago for the short lived tv series, and I’ve even watched the animated series. I’m so much of an Apes nerd I even read the original book that inspired the whole thing. Suffice it to say, I came at this new movie with low expectations what with Hollywood’s fascination in recent years with taking brilliant classics and both dumbing them down and resorting to all special effects/action with no story.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes defies that. The special effects are amazing, but really are secondary to a well written and beautifully performed story. It explores relationships, questions ethics, considers freedom. It was compelling, fascinating, and brilliant – and it happened to be science fiction. It was a great reboot to the series.
I loved the plausible story line, the setting the stage for earth to become a planet ruled by apes. Part of me wondered even with the quickly learning apes becoming more intelligent how they could prevail against the sheer numbers of humanity – but the stage was set for that in a great, and surprising way in the credits. It’s been a while since a film has left me this excited to see where the future installments will go.