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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Biology > Experiments > Chemistry > Rise Of The Planet of the Apes (2011/Fox Blu-ray + DVD w/Digital Copy)

Rise Of The Planet of the Apes (2011/Fox Blu-ray + DVD w/Digital Copy)


Picture: A-/B     Sound: A-/B     Extras: B     Film: B+



So let’s just forget the Tim Burton Planet of the Apes, outside of great makeup and effects all it did was muddy the waters on a floundering franchise.  With this said it is no shocker that critics and audiences everywhere had low expectations for this new installment.  Starting with the fact that it was a ‘new installment’ or prequel to the original film; the original Planet of the Apes had spurned so many sequels that the primordial pool was definitely tainted.  It is unclear at this moment if we are dealing with a straight forward reboot or if this is cannon with the other films; but regardless the film is exciting.


Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) is a wonderfully done, epic cinematic experience.  The creators were taking on a huge task and what they delivered was a huge film.  The acting is superb with a talented cast.  The atmosphere is perfect and coupled with masterfully created creatures the film explodes with life.  The film was written by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa who constructed a world that was character driven, rather than mindlessly focusing on action.  The trailers made it seem as if this film was all action, but outside of a few jostling moments the action doesn’t pickup until the end; and when it does watch out.


As I said, this is a character driven story, much like the original Planet of the Apes.  We learn who the characters are deep inside and together we walk through their world.  We start the film with James Franco playing a scientist who is looking to cure Alzheimer Disease.  In the process of research and development Franco’s character had been testing a series of drugs on primates; each with a slightly different formulation.  One of his test subjects ‘Bright Eyes’ was the stand out success and was about to be presented to a research/investment panel, when tragedy strikes and when the ape gets violent she is put down.  The reason for her violence was not the drug, but was an attempt to protect her offspring; offspring that the scientist didn’t know existed.  Research is quickly brought to a halt and all the apes are putdown as they are seen as tainted.  Franco’s character abandons his research, but not before another scientist hands off ‘Bright Eyes’ newborn to him.  Reluctant at first, Franco raises the ape as his own and quickly realizes that ‘Bright Eyes’ child demonstrates the same genius she did; even though he never received the drug directly.


We find out that Franco’s character has a personal connection to the Alzheimer fight he has taken up as his live-in father (John Lithgow) suffers from the disease; a once brilliant composer has now crumbled to a shell of a man.  The story progresses forward as Franco studies the ape he has named Caesar, treating him as his own child.  Franco pushes for further testing of the drug, but meets resistance and after a protective Caesar has a violent outburst things change for the worst as he is sent off to an ape sanctuary.  It is at the sanctuary that the brilliant Caesar realizes he is not like other apes and maybe more of his primitive instincts will have to come out.


The film is brilliantly constructed and will keep all viewers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end.


First off, I found the primates created for this film (by both costumed and CGI means) simply amazing.  They are certainly the best done in a film to date.  With that said, the 2.35 X 1, 1080p AVC Encoded/ MPEG-4 image is out of this world!  The amount of depth, texture and detail of the image is admirable and NEARLY perfectly rendered, with the exception of the occasional skin tone gaffe and soft image (though these are few and far in between).  The colors are vibrant.  The black levels are perfect.  A nearly perfect picture presentation.  The sound is absolutely as impressive as the picture with Fox’s 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio track balancing between somber and spectacular as the brilliantly mixed presentation uses the full speaker range.  The directionality is splendid, with the execution of the panning effects being spot on.  The technical features are impressive for sure.


The DVD is nowhere near the presentation the Blu-ray is, but is nicely done.  The detail is lacking and the film feels darker than it should.  The audio quality is not as well rounded as the Blu-ray and comes more from the front.


The extras are very well put together and with a new take on a classic each one is worth a look.  Some are better than others, but each offer a look behind the scenes that shows the creative genesis of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  Extras on this Blu-ray disc include:


  • 11 Deleted Scenes
  • The Genius of Andy Serkis
  • Scene Breakdown
  • A New Generation of Apes
  • Breaking Motion Capture Boundaries
  • The Great Apes
  • Mythology of the Apes
  • Composing the Score with Patrick Doyle
  • Audio Commentaries by Director and Writers
  • Character Concept Art Gallery
  • Digital Copy of the Film


A great film and I can’t wait to see what is next.




For more on the original film series, try this link to our coverage of the Blu-ray box set:





-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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