Rise of the Planet of the Apes

In recent years, many have eulogized the “death of the narrative” in an age where cinematic focus has shifted from story to CGI-driven action.

It strikes me as a fair charge, given the major movies I’ve seen this summer: both Captain America and Conan the Barbarian utilize narrative to bring the viewer to the point of action, rather than the other way around. (And really… Who goes into a movie like Conan expecting anything less?)

On Monday evening, I was expecting more of the same with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. My expectations for the latest Planets installment ran low, as I expected a similar breed of mindless action that drove the the 2001 remake.

I left the theater pleasantly surprised. Rise avoids the camp of the originals, and it does not lean heavily on action to hold the audience. What action there is, is there for a reason.

Since I run the risk of ruining the movie by commenting further, let me simply end by recommending this movie to all. Even if you despise the Planet of the Apes franchise, give this one a try.

Planet of the Apes: “A”

Captain America: “C+”

Conan the Barbarian: “B”

One Response to Rise of the Planet of the Apes

  • Greg says:

    Fr Josh,
    when I glanced at your headline, I thought, “Cool! Josh has become a gifted social critic”.

    Then I read on and saw that you were talking about movies. I’ll have to check out some of these flicks. (I still think your title would be a good characterization of the modern world.)

    Right now, my wife and I are into the last season of Friday Night Lights, which is of particular interest to us because this is where we grew up. Although we were a lot younger and there was very little fooling around, and of course, people had yet to discover drugs. George Bush was in one junior high school, Laura Bush was in another, and I was in a third. There was only one high school.

    How would you say that this Conan the Barbarian stacks up against the one that Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in?

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