Movie review: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”


Partner and I saw “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” a few days ago.



Well, it’s official: the human race is doomed. You may all just sit quietly and talk amongst yourselves until the apes take over.



I saw the original movies back in the 1970s. I remember all the stupid plot devices, and a few really good images and performances. I especially remember Kim Hunter as the tragic Zira, an intelligent alcoholic chimpanzee, mad with grief, dropping her baby off the side of a ship.



That baby – Caesar – is the star of the show in this new movie.



It’s not quite the same story as the older version, but it’s pretty close. It’s full of little jokes and winks at us old folks who remember the older movies. The title, when it appears, is in the same font as the original 1968 movie. (People like me notice things like that.) “Bright Eyes” was the nickname Kim Hunter gave to Charlton Heston in the very first movie. (Charlton even makes a sort of cameo appearance in this movie!) We watch the blastoff of a spaceship called the Icarus. And we meet an ape named “Cornelia” (like “Cornelius,” which was the character played by Roddy MacDowall), and – best of all – an orangutan named “Maurice.” (In the 1968 movie, Doctor Zaius, the wise old orangutan, was played by Maurice Evans.)



So: lots of odds and ends to keep us older fans busy.



What’s this movie like?



Sad, actually. Moving. It’s about modern science, and corporate culture, and our overblown opinion of where we fit into the animal kingdom. It’s about the contrast between human culture (over and over again represented by the Golden Gate Bridge) and nature (represented by the Muir Woods north of San Francisco).



It’s all about feeling, and justice, and something we call “humanity,” which perhaps isn’t necessarily the property of human beings after all.



And the fact that the CGI – and the really brilliant Andy Sirkis – show you recognizably human expressions on the faces of the apes enhances this enormously.  



Partner and I agreed after the movie: we were both rooting for the apes to win.



Because people are just awful.



But don’t fret! The replacements are on the way!




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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