Friday, August 26, 2011

Scotter & Apes 2: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was fabulous. It is one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. I am willing to put it up there as my favourite film of this year and possibly my third favourite movie next to Inception and The Dark Knight. It is an incredible film that portrayed The Planet of the Apes franchise in near perfect form. This is what all those other movies should have been.

- The story had more depth than the Pacific Ocean. It was an emotional story that was propelled by character and plot rather than special effects and action. Pure amazing story telling.
- The apes were marvellous. Never have “Serkis folk” looked so amazing. The motion capture in this movie puts Avatar to shame. And speaking of Andy Serkis, the king of motion capture was absolutely amazing as Caesar, as were the other actors portraying great characters such as the wise old orang-utan, Maurice and the creepy chimpanzee, Koba. I sincerely hope they bring back Koba as a potential villain for the next films. Interestingly the name Koba was an alias of Stalin before he took power. Do I smell a Russian Revolution allegory?
- The science in this movie was some of the best I have seen from any blockbuster. The original series wasn’t exactly accurate, but then again, this was before people actually gave a damn about the believability of sci-fi. The use of a retrovirus (a virus that alters the genetic code of an individual eg. HIV) was unexpected but it was exactly what the doctor ordered (oh, the irony). The apes were portrayed with amazing realism, with obvious behaviour differences between the various species seen. My favourite scene was the climactic bridge sequence where Caesar used the strengths of the three kinds of apes to his advantage, commanding the orangs to attack from below, the chimps from above and the gorillas to push a bus as a barricade to the humans’ gunfire. These moviemakers did their research.
- I wanted the movie to keep on going so badly. It just had to. I remember sitting in the theater hoping that it wasn’t over yet. On the bright side, it made a shit load of money and got good enough reviews it probably will get a sequel!
- The human actors were not really in it much. Although this wasn’t too bad, it became something of a bummer when I saw amazing actors like Brian Cox and John Lithgow given such little screen time (although Lithgow was great as the Alzheimer’s ridden father of Franco’s protagonist). The chick was almost unnecessary. She could have been cut out and it wouldn’t matter.
- There was a bit of the forcing of references to the old series. The worst was Tom Felton’s “Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!” and Caesar’s subsequent shouting of “NO!” This fell a little bit into Narmville (go to TV Tropes and look up narm) and at that moment I was afraid for the movie but it soon rose back up to awesomeness.
- Tiny plot holes. Like, why not bring in the army to shoot the fuck out of the apes? I kind of realized that if the San Francisco PD called up the army and told them that apes were attacking the army would be all like “are you kidding me?” and hang up, so that was my rationalization.

The Verdict?
Acting: ****
Plot: *****
Effects: *****
Truth to Source: ***

Overall: *****

This is the kind of movie I would want to be a part of. This is the movie that made me realize I want to become a film actor just so I can play an ape. I’ve already been a superhero. Now the plan is to be a chimp.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Ode to Humanity

I know, I was going to post my review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and I honest to Caesar typed the thing but I did it in Word and apparently my computer no likey copy paste at the moment. On a different note I've been thinking a lot about how I view the world and come to a conclusion: humans are kind of cool. It seems to me that there are too many people that hate humanity and think we suck. I know that we as a species are dumb asses a lot (take London right now for instance) but I honestly believe that humanity can only go up from here. And by up I mean literally because IMO, the only way to fix just about every problem on Earth is to jet a few billion people the hell out of here.

Anywho, I am of the opinion that people are the coolest living thing ever to arise on Earth. Why? Well, last time I checked bears or sharks or giant squid never made it to the moon or can look at bacteria or create another reality (yes, the Internet is another reality people!). So, in short, humanity rocks. And not just because of all the things we have done. Just at look at what we are. We are conscious beings. For all we know we are the only ones out there. That is kind of scary. And as conscious beings I believe we have a responsibility to all of reality to try and discover as much about it as we can because if we don't who will? In turn we can then celebrate reality. Just listen to Symphony of Science or that Discovery Channel commericial with a the "boom deeyadda's". The universe is awesome and as intelligent, thoughtful and most importantly, emotional beings we have the capability to understand, explore and celebrate reality. No other creature can say that. That is why we rock. Sure we make mistakes, but we are a young species. Lions have been around longer than us. And look at all the amazing things we have managed to accomplish in that time. We kick ass.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Scotter & Apes

I love apes. They are most certainly my favourite group of animals along with cats. My favourite Disney movie? Tarzan (tied with The Lion King, but whatevs). My favourite novel? Congo, by Michael Crichton. My favourite documentary? The ape/human episode of Life of Mammals.

I remember when I was a kid I would run around the house pretending to be a mountain gorilla, or a common chimpanzee, or a Bornean orangutan and would only speak to my siblings or parents if they used the sign language I had learned by reading about Koko, Washoe and Chantek and all the other signing apes. I loved it. Every time I see an ape I'm reminded of my freedom when I was kid of just running around like an ape whenever I wanted. And climbing on everything. I miss that. I love climbing on stuff. Any chance I get I will make an excuse to climb. Trees are the best though. Nothing beats climbing a big ass tree to the point where the branches don't even hold your weight anymore.

When I was about 7 I was watching TV at my aunt and uncle's house in Nelson, BC. All my siblings were with me, along with my uncle and we were just flipping channels trying to find something to watch. At this time my siblings and I had very different tastes in television, which is what tends to happen when the eldest child is war-mongering and sports obsessed, the second kid is in love with all things animal/superhero and the two youngest are 5 and 4 year old girls who things. Anywho, as we were channel surfing I spied that some movie with talking apes was on and immediately yelled "let's watch that!" Everyone else decided they didn't want to watch that crap and my first chance to watch the original Planet of the Apes was quashed.

My next experience with the series was when I was 10 and saw the ending to the Tim Burton Apes film and I thought it was the coolest thing. It was only about 20 minutes of the film and I adored it.

Next came my first chance to watch a whole Apes movie from beginning to end. I saw Conquest of the Planet of the Apes when I was 14 and thought it was some awesome shit. Like, it was the seriously one of the coolest concepts for a movie I had ever seen (by this time I was something of a sci-fi/action snob already, so calling this old film good was pretty amazing) although the low budget for the movie was obvious, it was well acted and well scripted. Then I saw War of the Planet of the Apes and turned it off halfway through because I realized how downhill it was going. I decided to check out the Tim Burton one for realz and see if I would actually like it. Suffice to say it did not live up to expectation, especially after remembering how epic it felt when I was ten. Then again, Batman & Robin still felt kind of epic when was ten, so no surprise there. I felt let down by all of the films but Conquest to the point where I didn't even want to see the first 3 movies.

Now, it's 2011 and I'm 18 years old. I first saw the trailer to Rise of the Planet of the Apes about three months ago and I totally freaked out. I could tell, this was going to be the movie that would live up to my expectations for this series. This was gonna be the movie that all the others should of been. And I was damn right...

Review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes along with my other feelings on all things simian will be posted tomorrow, cuz I am damn tired.