Rise of the Planet of the Apes

It doesn't matter which sociopolitical problem you feel is being addressed in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (or any of the earlier entries in this timeless franchise). The film works for all (or none) of them. It's a wonderfully crafted, visually arresting motion picture.
Rise is directed by Rupert Wyatt and stars (ostensibly) James Franco (good but not great) as a misguided but charitable scientist who is artificially boosting the brain cells of chimps in his quest for a cure for Alzheimer's, which his father (played by John Lithgow) suffers. Alzheimer's seems to have replaced consumption and cancer as Hollywood's fatal disease du jour.
Despite some tinny acting in places, Rise is a rollicking, full-bore "F-U" to The Man (however he's defined) and a rousing "Got Yo' Back" to all of oppressed Apedom (ditto). Notice the way "monkey" is used to demean the apes in the film; an epithet by any other name.
The film, which features an amazing tracking sequence early on that follows a chimp at play and sets the bar really high for later sequences, is enormously entertaining and not a little bit cathartic, at least for me, after the recent congressional budget debacle.
It is another remarkable achievement in the melding of live action and computer-generated animation, which, IMO, makes the actual "star" star of this movie Andy Sirkis (known by most as the creature Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) and the crew that created his character, the rebel leader / warlord chimpanzee Caesar (no subtlety in the naming there). The film's final tree top shot is, as the kids say, awesome.


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