Rise of the Planet of the Apes
|Rise of the Planet of the Apes|
|Directed by||Rupert Wyatt|
|Produced by||Peter Chernin |
|Written by||Rick Jaffa |
|Starring||James Franco |
|Music by||Patrick Doyle|
|Editing by||Conrad Buff |
|Studio||Dune Entertainment |
Big Screen Productions
Ingenious Film Partners
|Distributed by||Twentieth Century Fox|
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||105 minutes|
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a 2011 American science fiction film directed by Rupert Wyatt and starring James Franco, Freida Pinto, and Andy Serkis. Written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, it is 20th Century Fox's reboot of the Planet of the Apes series, intended to act as an origin story for a new series of films. Its premise is similar to the fourth film in the original series, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), but it is not a direct remake in that it does not fit into that series' continuity.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was released on August 5, 2011, to critical and commercial success. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. It was also nominated for five Saturn Awards including Best Director for Wyatt and Best Writing for Jaffa and Silver, winning Best Science Fiction Film, Best Supporting Actor for Serkis and Best Special Effects. Serkis's performance as Caesar was widely acclaimed, earning him many nominations from many associations which do not usually recognize performance capture as real acting. A sequel to the film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, is set for release in May 2014.
Will Rodman (James Franco) a scientist at biotechnology company Gen-Sys, is testing viral-based drug "ALZ-112', on chimpanzees, to find a cure for brain ailments like Alzheimer's disease. The drug is given to a chimpanzee, Bright Eyes, greatly increasing her intelligence, but she is forced from her cage, goes on a rampage, and is killed. Will's boss Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) terminates the project and orders chimp handler Robert Franklin (Tyler Labine) to euthanize the chimps. After doing as ordered, Franklin discovers Bright Eyes had recently given birth and convinces Will to save the baby chimp's life by taking him home temporarily. Will's father Charles (John Lithgow), who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, names the chimp "Caesar." Will learns that Caesar (Andy Serkis) has inherited his mother's high intelligence and decides to raise him. Three years later, Will introduces Caesar to the redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument. Meanwhile, with Charles' condition rapidly deteriorating, Will treats him with ALZ-112 and he is restored to better than original cognitive ability.
After five more years, as an adult chimp of seven, upon seeing a dog on a leash (like his) Caesar openly question his identity - and Will tells him of his origins. Meanwhile, Charles' dementia returns as he has become resistant to the ALZ-112. Caesar witnesses a confrontation between confused Charles and neighbor Douglas Hunsiker (David Hewlett) and attacks Hunsiker. Caesar is then placed in a primate shelter where he is treated cruelly by the other chimps and the chief guard, Dodge (Tom Felton). Caesar learns how to unlock his cage, gaining free access to the common area. With the assistance of Buck - a gorilla, - he confronts the sanctuary's alpha chimp and claims that position.
Will's boss Jacobs clears development of a more powerful, gaseous version of the viral drug - now called ALZ-113 - when Will tells him it will not only heal brain disease, but will improve intelligence in anyone. Will brings the drug home to save his father, but is too late. Franklin is exposed to the new drug and becomes ill. Attempting to warn Will at his home, he sneezes blood onto Hunsiker and is later discovered dead.
Will attempts to release Caesar, but the chimp refuses to go home with him. Instead he escapes from the facility and returns to Will's house, where he takes canisters of the ALZ-113. Returning to the facility, he releases the gas; enhancing the intelligence of the other apes overnight. When Dodge attempts to get Caesar back in his cage, Caesar shocks him by speaking for the first time - yelling "No!" Caesar then electrocutes the cattle-prod wielding man by spraying him with water. The apes flee the facility, release the remaining apes from Gen-Sys, and free the apes from the San Francisco zoo.
A battle ensues as the ape army fights its way past a police blockade on the Golden Gate Bridge to escape into the Redwood forest at Muir Woods. Buck sacrifices himself to save Ceasar, jumping in the helicopter Jacobs is riding and crashing it on the bridge, but Jacobs is trapped in the helicopter, he is then killed by Koba, an ape always used on tests. As the apes find their way into the forest, Will arrives and warns Caesar that the humans will hunt them down, and begs him to return home. To Will's surprise Caesar speaks, telling him "Caesar is home." In the final scene, the apes climb to the tops of the Redwoods; in the distance is the city from which they escaped. In a post-credits scene: Hunsiker - having been infected by Franklin - arrives at San Francisco International Airport for his flight to Paris. The camera zooms into the flight-status board and, while ominous music plays, a graphic traces the spread of the humanity-killing virus to France and then around the globe via airline flight routes.
- James Franco as Dr. William "Will" Rodman, a scientist who is trying to discover a cure for his father's Alzheimer's disease by testing ALZ-112 on chimps. He is a father figure to Caesar. James Franco was cast after talks with Tobey Maguire broke down.
- Freida Pinto as Caroline Aranha, a primatologist who starts a relationship with Will and grows attached to Caesar.
- John Lithgow as Charles Rodman, Will's Alzheimer's-afflicted father and a former music teacher who improves after Will gives him the ALZ-112 and forms a strong bond with Caesar.
- Brian Cox as John Landon, manager of the San Bruno Primate Shelter where Caesar is confined for a time. His full name is a reference to one of the astronauts in the original Planet of the Apes.
- Tom Felton as Dodge Landon, John's son and an animal caretaker at the shelter, who enjoys treating the apes cruelly. His first and last name are references to two of the astronauts in the original Planet of the Apes.
- David Oyelowo as Steven Jacobs, Will's greedy boss. His last name is a reference to Arthur P. Jacobs, the producer of the original Planet of the Apes series.
- Tyler Labine as Robert Franklin, a chimp handler at Gen-Sys and one of Will's friends.
- Jamie Harris as Rodney, a caretaker and a nightwatchman who is much kinder to the apes at the sanctuary and is regularly victimized by Dodge for this.
- David Hewlett as Douglas Hunsiker, Will's hot headed neighbor.
- Chelah Horsdal as Irena, a nurse who is looking after Charles.
- Andy Serkis as Caesar, a chimpanzee whose intelligence is increased due to inheriting ALZ-112 from his mother during her pregnancy, and who is raised by Will for eight years. He later leads an ape revolution against humanity. The character is based on Caesar from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes of the original series.
- Karin Konoval as Maurice, a Bornean orangutan who had retired from the circus and knows sign language; he becomes Caesar's closest ally. His name is a reference to Maurice Evans, who played orangutan Dr. Zaius in the original Planet of the Apes (1968). Konoval also cameos as the court clerk who Will briefly argues with about his appeal.
- Terry Notary as Rocket, the former dominant chimp at the ape sanctuary, until Caesar overthrows him – his name references the set decorator of Planet of the Apes, Norman Rockett – and Bright Eyes, Caesar's mother who was captured in Africa – her name is the nickname given to Charlton Heston's human character by Zira in the 1968 film.
- Richard Ridings as Buck, a western lowland gorilla who pledges his allegiance to Caesar after he is freed by him. His name is a reference to Buck Kaltilian, who played the gorilla Julius in the 1968 film, as well as another gorilla Frank in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.
- Christopher Gordon as Koba, a scar-faced bonobo who has spent most of his life in laboratories and holds a grudge against humans. He is named Koba after an alias often used by Joseph Stalin
- Devyn Dalton as Cornelia, a female chimpanzee in the ape sanctuary. Her name is the name of the chimp Cornelius played by Roddy McDowall in the original Planet Of The Apes.
- Jay Caputo as Alpha, the dominant male chimpanzee of Bright Eyes' troop and Caesar's father.
Development and writing
In 2006, screenwriter-producer Rick Jaffa was searching for a script idea. As Jaffa searched a newspaper articles clipping, one about pet chimpanzees that become troublesome to their owners and heartbroken for not adapting well to the human environment intrigued him. As Jaffa eventually realized it fit the Planet of the Apes series, he called his wife and screenwriting partner Amanda Silver to express his ideas of such a chimpanzee eventually starting the ape revolution, and then the couple started developing the character of Caesar. Jaffa and Silver then wrote a script and sold it to Fox, producers of the Apes franchise. The script added other elements which the couple had researched, such as genetic engineering. Several tributes to specific scenes, characters, and cast and crew from the previous Apes film series were added in the script – in particular, Caesar's treatment at the primate sanctuary parallels Taylor's treatment as a captive in the original film.
In a segment of a video blog post, director Rupert Wyatt commented on the originality of the plot: "This is part of the mythology and it should be seen as that. It's not a continuation of the other films; it's an original story. It does satisfy the people who enjoy those films. The point of this film is to achieve that and to bring that fan base into this film exactly like Batman Begins." In a 2009 interview, Wyatt said, "We've incorporated elements from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, in terms of how the apes begin to revolt, but this is primarily a prequel to the 1968 film.... Caesar is a revolutionary figure who will be talked about by his fellow apes for centuries.... This is just the first step in the evolution of the apes, and there's a lot more stories to tell after this. I imagine the next film will be about the all-out war between the apes and humans."
Filming began in July 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Filming also happened in San Francisco, California – the primary setting of the film –  and around Oahu, Hawaii, which doubled for the African jungle as the schedule and budget did not allow for location shooting in Africa.
As the animals in Rise were meant to be actual apes instead of the anthropomorphic simians of the original Apes film franchise, the producers decided not to use actors in make-up or animal suits. After considering real apes, instead Weta Digital created the apes digitally in almost every case through performance capture. Advances in the technology allowed the use of performance capture in an exterior environment, affording the film-makers the freedom to shoot much of the film on location with other actors, as opposed to the confines of a soundstage. The main breakthrough was a camera that enabled to watch the motion capture dots under daylight, employed mostly for the Golden Gate Bridge battle. A maximum of six actors could have their movements captured, with larger ape crowds using fully digital animals animated using Weta's move library. The Golden Gate Bridge set used both a physical set which was extended digitally, and a fully computer-generated model of the bridge that also included the ocean and nearby hills.
After shooting the actors playing humans interacting with others wearing the motion capture suits, a clean plate was shot with actors against the nothing for extra reference. Actor-stuntman Terry Notary guided the actors on realistic ape movement, while Weta studied the chimps in the Wellington zoo for reference. The digital apes also received detailed models with skeletons, muscles and nervous tissue layers for accurate animation. Cast models of apes' heads and limbs helped the texture department to replicate the skin details such as wrinkles and pores. Given the difference between human and chimpanzee facial muscles, the animators tweaked the performance through a new facial muscle system adding all the dynamics, ballistics, and secondary motion. As the silent performance required expressive eyes, a new eye model was made to depict both greater accuracy in muscle movement in and around the eyes, but also tear moisture, pupil dilation, and light refraction. While Andy Serkis was the primary performer for Caesar, as the effects team considered that at times "Andy overcame the character," other motion capture team actors were also used, especially Devyn Dalton, who had the same height as the chimpanzee would have. Along with that, they used Notary to play Caesar in stunt-filled scenes such as the Golden Gate Bridge scene.
The score for the film was written by Patrick Doyle and performed by the Hollywood Studio Symphony. The main concern was to have the music help progress the plot in the scenes without dialogue, for instance, conveying the emotions of Caesar's relationships with Will and Charles. To turn the score into a "driving force that keeps audiences paying attention," Doyle employed an African-American chorus and focused on percussion and "low and deep" orchestra sounds. Doyle collaborated closely with the sound department to make the music complement the sound effects, including writing a recurring theme based on their recording of a chimpanzee.
Reviews for Rise of the Planet of the Apes have been positive, with review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reporting an 83% "Certified Fresh" rating, and an average rating of 7.1/10, based on 239 reviews. The site's critical consensus is: "Led by Rupert Wyatt's stylish direction, some impressive special effects, and a mesmerizing performance by Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes breathes unlikely new life into a long-running franchise." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, reports a score of 68 based on 39 reviews.
Nick Pinkerton of The Village Voice wrote, "Caesar's prison conversion to charismatic pan-ape revolutionist is near-silent filmmaking, with simple and precise images illustrating Caesar's General-like divining of personalities and his organization of a group from chaos to order."
Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and praised the role of Caesar and Andy Serkis by stating it was a "wonderfully executed character" and "one never knows exactly where the human ends and the effects begin, but Serkis and/or Caesar gives the best performance in the movie."
Roger Moore of Orlando Sentinel wrote, "Audacious, violent and disquieting, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is a summer sequel that's better than it has any right to be." He gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars.
Manohla Dargis of The New York Times praised the film by saying, "Precisely the kind of summer diversion that the studios have such a hard time making now. It's good, canny-dumb fun." She also gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes made its debut in the United States and Canada on roughly 5,400 screens within 3,648 theaters. It grossed $19,534,699 on opening day and $54,806,191 in its entire opening weekend, making it #1 for that weekend as well as the fourth highest-grossing August opening ever. The film held on to the #1 spot in its second weekend, dropping 49.2%, and grossing $27,832,307. Rise of the Planet of the Apes crossed the $150 million mark in the United States and Canada on its 26th day of release. Entertainment Weekly said that this was quite an accomplishment for the film since the month of August is a difficult time for films to make money.
The film ended its run at the box office on December 15, 2011, with a gross of $176,760,185 in the U.S. and Canada as well as $305,040,688 internationally, for a total of $481,800,873 worldwide.
|84th Academy Awards||Best Visual Effects||Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett||Nominated|
|Alliance of Women Film Journalists||Best Supporting Actor||Andy Serkis||Nominated|
|Annie Awards||Character Animation in a Live Action Production||Eric Reynolds||Won|
|Broadcast Film Critics Association||Best Supporting Actor||Andy Serkis||Nominated|
|Best Visual Effects||Won|
|Best Action Film||Nominated|
|Empire Awards||Best Film||Nominated|
|Best Director||Rupert Wyatt||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Andy Serkis||Nominated|
|Genesis Awards||Best Feature Film||Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver||Won|
|Houston Film Critics Society||Best Supporting Actor||Andy Serkis||Nominated|
|IGN Best of 2011||Best Movie||Nominated|
|Best Sci-Fi Movie||Won|
|Best Movie Actor||Andy Serkis (also for The Adventures of Tintin)||Nominated|
|Best Movie Director||Rupert Wyatt||Nominated|
|IGN Summer Movie Awards|
|Best Summer Movie||Nominated|
|Funniest Line||"Why cookie Rocket?"||Nominated|
|Best All-Out Brawl||Apes vs. Humans on the Golden Gate Bridge||Nominated|
|Favorite Kill||Helicopter Pushed Over the Golden Gate Bridge||Nominated|
|Favorite Hero||Caesar — Andy Serkis||Won|
|Las Vegas Film Critics Society||Best Visual Effects||Won|
|London Film Critics Circle||Technical Achievement||Joe Letteri||Nominated|
|Phoenix Film Critics Society||Best Visual Effects||Nominated|
|San Diego Film Critics Society||Best Supporting Actor||Andy Serkis||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture||Andy Serkis||Nominated|
|Best Visual Effects||Jeff Capogreco, Joe Letteri, R. Christopher White||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Science Fiction Film||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Andy Serkis||Won|
|Best Director||Rupert Wyatt||Nominated|
|Best Writing||Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver||Nominated|
|Best Special Effects||Dan Lemmon, Joe Letteri, R. Christopher White, and Daniel Barrett||Won|
|Visual Effects Society||Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture||Dan Lemmon, Joe Letteri, Cyndi Ochs, Kurt Williams||Won|
|Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture||Caesar — Daniel Barrett, Florian Fernandez, Matthew Muntean, Eric Reynolds||Won|
|Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture||Thelvin Cabezas, Mike Perry, R. Christopher White, Erik Winquist||Nominated|
|Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture||Jean-Luc Azzis, Quentin Hema, Simon Jung, Christoph Salzmann||Nominated|
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||Best Supporting Actor||Andy Serkis||Nominated|
Regarding the story setting up possible sequels, director Rupert Wyatt commented: "I think we're ending with certain questions, which is quite exciting. To me, I can think of all sorts of sequels to this film, but this is just the beginning." Screenwriter and producer Rick Jaffa also stated that Rise of the Planet of the Apes would feature several clues as to future sequels: "I hope that we're building a platform for future films. We're trying to plant a lot of the seeds for a lot of the things you are talking about in terms of the different apes and so forth."
Filming of "Dawn" started on North Vancouver Island in April 2013. The location of Vancouver Island was chosen for its similarity to the locations depicted in the film, the forests, and the variety of landscapes.
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