Thursday 11 August 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Starring: James Franco, Freida Pinto, Andy Serkis
Director: Rupert Wyatt
20th Century Fox

In Cinemas Now
Review by Charlotte Barnes

Man’s arrogance sets off a chain of events that leads to intelligence in apes and a challenge to our place as the dominant species on the planet. Caesar, the first intelligent ape, is betrayed by humans and rises up to lead his species’ spectacular race to freedom and the ultimate showdown with Man.

It says a lot about a film when the representative from Fox stands in front of an audience filled with journalists and says that they are proud that they were able to use the same computer graphics artists that were used to produce Avatar. From this point forward, I knew that at no point would this film be about the acting or the storyline of the film, but how cool their Apes would look crossing San Francisco Bridge. True to form, I had guessed the entire plot within the first ten minutes of the screening commencing.

I have enjoyed special effects before (see my review of Avatar) and have been wowed by the skill of the CGI team behind it, without really noticing that there was not a particularly substantial narrative to prop it up. I have to say that I believe this to be the case with this prequel; there were long periods of the film where it seemed to be centered around the special effects rather than adding to the momentum and fluidity of the narrative. I genuinely believe that they could have cut out forty minutes of the animation and still have just as good a film, if not better. Come on Fox, there are plenty of charities that are there that are deserving of that money spent on unnecessary special effects, do some good with it rather than waste forty minutes of my life that I will never get back.

Don't get me wrong; there are some fantastic aspects of this film. James Franco plays a fantastic scientist as Will Rodman and, well, John Lithgow is always win, in my opinion. The CGI (although there is an abundance of it) is spectacular. The characteristics of Cesar’s face and demeanour are incredibly realistic. It is just a shame that it is so let down by the laziness of the script, which does not allow for the human characters to develop and is full of plot holes.

Are there really that many apes residing in San Francisco? Isn’t it convenient that every car on San Francisco bridge gets smashed up except one conveniently placed at the end of it? Is this just a lazy way of pushing a plot along to achieve its main goal?

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Plenty of aggressive apes.
Sex/Nudity: None of note.
Swearing: None of Note.
Summary: At least it's better than the atrocity that is Tim Burton’s remake of Planet of the Apes. 6/10


The second volume detailing the exploits of Miss Wilhelmina Murray and her extraordinary colleagues. Volume two takes place almost 60 years after the events of Century 1910, in the psychedelic haze of Swinging London in 1969 - a place where Tadukic Acid Diethylamide 26 is the drug of choice and where different underworlds are starting to overlap dangerously to an accompaniment of sit-ins and sitars.

The vicious gangster bosses of London's East End find themselves brought into contact with a counter-culture underground of mystical and medicated flower-children, or amoral pop-stars on the edge of psychological disintegration and developing a taste for Satanism.

Alerted to a threat concerning the same magic order that she and her colleagues were investigating during 1910 (see the first part of Century), a thoroughly modern Mina Murray and her dwindling league of comrades attempt to navigate the perilous rapids of London's hippy and criminal subculture, as well as the twilight world of its occultists. Starting to buckle from the pressures of the twentieth century and the weight of their own endless lives, Mina and her companions must nevertheless prevent the making of a Moonchild that might well turn out to be the antichrist.

Thanks to our friends at Knockabout Comics, we've got five copies of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969 to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Thursday 18th August, making sure to put "LXG 1969" as the subject. The first five entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "LXG 1969" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969 is out now, courtesy of Knockabout Comics.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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