Best Scenes: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Fun Fact: This was the last movie I received on DVD before switching to Blu-ray.

I have never seen such ingenious use of a reference before or since. In 2011, for some reason I had a hard time finding people to go see Rise of the Planet of the Apes with. People were already starting to roll their eyes at franchise reboots and decade old Tim Burton entry was still fresh in people’s minds. A new approach was to tell the more interesting story of how it all came to be using state of the art CGI and a motion capture performance by Andy Serkis. Also James Franco was there for some reason and the rest of the cast and director were capable.

The best scene in the rebooted franchise at least is a great encapsulation of subverting audience expectation. Tom Felton’s character Dodge (the actor who will forever be known as Malfoy) and his father (Brian Cox) are seen throughout as a cruel reflection of humanity compared to the other benevolent father-son pairing of protagonist James Franco and John Lithgow. The cruelty of humanity shown throughout the series as its downfall is what ultimately causes the uprising of Caesar in one of the most jaw dropping cinematic moments of 2011.

The human who over the course of the scene becomes regressive and instinctually cruel in his actions, literally loses against the upper hand and stage to the ape who for the first time speaks, a defiantly roaring “NO!” which shook the audience with silence. I remember that feeling during a film where you become so immersed you forget you are watching. It was like that and glorious. Arriving at the perfect time in the plot and well constructed it was a mighty payoff to what many thought was a scene simply referencing the original film’s line uttered by Charlton Heston – “Get your stinking paws off me you damned dirty ape!” Fortunately this series continues to have more on its mind rather than just aping the tracks of what has come before.


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