(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 45
4.5 out of 5 🐙
This is the only Rupert Wyatt joint I have watched but I absolutely loved it. When the trailers came out for this, I scoffed. I was still freshly burned by Tim Burton and Mark Wahlberg’s 2001 abomination and while it had been 10 years, it felt like yesterday. But then I started to hear things from people I trusted. And I was still looking at Rottentomatoes percentages (I don’t love their model and I try to avoid all reviews and sites that collect reviews so I can go in fresh) then so I couldn’t deny all the signs.
It’s an old story: humanity’s contempt for “lesser” species, animals in particular. A science experiment goes awry and Caesar the ape is endowed with high (even for a human!) intelligence. He is subsequently, and not surprisingly, unsatisfied being a pet, even though he was raised kindly by father and son Will and Charles Rodman (James Franco and John Lithgow respectively). You can probably see where this is going.
There are noble humans. There are evil humans. There are noble apes. There are evil apes. This isn’t a facile good and evil conflict though the party that is not acknowledging the dignity of the other is clearly the one in the wrong overall. Andy Serkis absolutely steals the movies, as he does with virtually every character he inhabits. His evolution from brilliant ape to commanding revolutionary is inspiring. You probably know how the movie goes, too. I don’t have to tell you that the good guys win. But Wyatt takes us along with masterful skill. I really should check out his other films. It’s just a blast of a freedom story. Braveheart type satisfaction here, folks.
And one sad and weird note. The humans start to die off because of a global pandemic. The last scene is a pilot walking through an airport and he pauses briefly as a single drop of blood falls from his nose to the floor. That kinda hits hard today, 3/19/20. And a friend of mine just got COVID-19. It’s the first person I know who has contracted it. That’s shitty. This movie shinola-y.
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)