Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rise of the planet of the motion captured sprites

My Planet of the Apes marathon finished yesterday when I paid my £6.35 and sat in an empty cinema to watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
All the fanboy stuff first. There are lots of nods to the original film, the Statue of Liberty is in there along with all the famous lines and clips of old Charlton Heston films are showing on TV screens in the background. Draco Malfoy gets to be a bad guy again and his character is named after the other two astronauts from Planet of the Apes. There's also the nice touch of background news items about a manned mission to Mars and suggestions that the spacecraft is missing. Plus the planet of the apes font is used for the titles.

I thought that the writer did a good job establishing that the virus that increases ape intelligence is also the cause of the disaster which presumably send humans back to the stone age. This is not quite the apocalypse that Taylor thinks has happened by the end of the original film but it still fits. However it makes no sense for the four sequels, not that it sets out to.

The performance capture of Andy Serkis playing the part of Caesar is very impressive, or at least it is when he's not moving about much. There is the usual problem of CGI and fast movement, the apes don't seem to have any weight when they are making their huge leaps. But the close up stuff is fairly impressive, especially in the baleful malevolence of Serkis as Caesar.

The science in the movie is a bit dodgy. If James Franco's character really had developed a drug that could reverse Alzheimer's disease for even 5 years then it would be worth millions and he wouldn't keep it to himself. There is also a lot of confusion about genetics, the scientists in the film should remember the work of Lamarck on the inheritance of acquired characteristics. They do fudge the issue a bit by suggesting that the virus affects genes so it could be passed on to some extent.

Overall it was an enjoyable romp. It's been a box office success so I guess we will be seeing a sequel. For the time being however my apes marathon is over.
All that remains for me to say is "Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!"

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