30 December 2011

26 Dec - "humans don't like smart ape"

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
dir. Rupert Wyatt

Brian Cox (Braveheart, 1995)
Tom Felton (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, 2010)
James Franco (Never Been Kissed, 1999)
Leah Gibson (Eclipse, 2010)
Jamie Harris (Princess Caraboo, 1994)
David Hewlett (Where the Heart is, 1990)
Chelah Horsdal (On Strike for Christmas, TV 2010)
Adrian Hough (X-Men: The Last Stand, 2006)
Tyler Labin (Zack and Miri Make a Porno, 2008)
John Lithgow (Skrek (voice), 2001)
Ty Olsson (Lake Placid, 1999)
David Oyelowo (The Last King of Scotland, 2006)
Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire, 2008)
Dean Redmond (2012, 2009)
Jesse Reid (Watchmen, 2009)
David Richmond-Peck (The Day the Earth Stood Still, 2008)
Sean Tyson (2012, 2009)

I feel like this movie has already been reviewed to death and since I'm clearly a latecomer to this game I'll keep the report necessarily brief. Yes, the CGIed Ceasar had a lot of attitude. Yes, you might say the moral of the story is that 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'

Maybe this is because I was sort of in&out for the first twenty minutes or so, but I don't understand why James Franco's character didn't send baby Ceasar to a wildlife refuge immediately, that seems totally irresponsible. Anybody who knows anything about chimpanzees knows that they are accidents waiting to happen. Ceasar attacking the neighbor with a bad attitude wasn't just an unfortunate misunderstanding, it was practically inevitable. Chimps are awfully smart, but they are also meeeaaan animals.

The other point I feel compelled to point out (and this is nit-picky) is that they wouldn't have been doing medical experiments on chimps, they would have been doing them on rhesus monkeys. And finally, if the virus makes chimps super-smart but kills humans, it doesn't seem likely that the virus would have the same effect on orangutans as it does on chimps, because orangs have much less in common with chimps than humans do, which is to say that we are all almost identical, but orangutans are slightly more differentiated than the African apes (which are chimps, gorillas, and humans)

That being said, there's plenty of room for a sequel (a sequel to the prequel), which I have no doubt will be forthcoming. How does a pack of multi-species apes expand from a small home base in the California redwood forest to world domination? What do they eat in the redwood forest? Pine needles? Does their group even include females? Are female super-intelligent apes capable of demanding equal rights from their male counterparts or do the baser ape instinctive social order still apply? SO many questions have been left unanswered...

My last point is that is was pretty cool when Cesar NO! to Draco Malfoy, but I wasn't into it when he said "Cesar is home" to James Franco at the end. Apes don't have the physiological capability of speech. It makes a sort of sense that this ability could evolve in the thousands of years it takes until Charlton Heston arrives on the scene. But within a lifespan? Impossible. "No" is not a particularly difficult syllable. If they can teach a Siberian Husky to say "I Love You," I can believe that a super smart chimp can shout a mono-syllabic protest. That scene was very exciting, it was like I wasn't quite certain I had heard correctly until he repeated himself. And I was scared because it was unearthly and just wrong. But they that final scene detracted from the earlier climax. Not only was it unbelievable, but I think even if a super-intelligent ape learned to speak English, he wouldn't talk like Tarzan and he would know how to pronouns. I think it was a mistake.

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