Planet of the Apes (film series)

PLANET OF THE APES (12)
D: Tim Burton
20th Century Fox (Richard D. Zanuck)
USA 🇺🇸 2001
120 mins

Science Fiction

W: William Broyles, Jr., Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal [based on the novel 'Monkey Planet' by Pierre Boulle]
DP: Philippe Rousselot
Ed: Chris Lebenzon
Mus: Danny Elfman
PD: Rick Heinrichs
Cos: Colleen Atwood

Mark Wahlberg (Capt. Leo Davidson), Tim Roth (Gen, Thade), Helena Bonham-Carter (Ari), Michael Clarke Duncan (Col. Attar), Paul Giamatti (Limbo), Estella Warren (Daena)

Remake of the 1968 film in which a crew of astronauts crash land on a planet inhabited by an intelligent and fierce race of apes who want them dead.
Director Tim Burton insisted that this version was a "re-imagination" rather than a remake. This only proves that Tim Burton can't have much of one.
The visual effects and makeup are more convincing, but the acting and dialogue are atrocious, whilst the "twist" ending is just laughable.
3/10

Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes
Evolution becomes revolution
Evolution becomes revolution
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (12)     
D: Rupert Wyatt
20th Century Fox (Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver)
USA 🇺🇸 2011
100 mins

Science Fiction

W: Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver [based on the "Planet Of The Apes" series]
DP: Andrew Lesnie
Ed: Conrad Buff & Mark Goldblatt
Mus: Patrick Doyle

James Franco (Dr. Will Rodman), Freida Pinto (Dr. Caroline Aranha), John Lithgow (Charles Rodman), Brian Cox (John Landon), Tom Felton (Dodge Landon), David Oyelowo (Steven Jacobs), Andy Serkis (Caesar)

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Tim Burton's 2001 "re-imagination" of the original Planet Of The Apes killed off the series for good, but this well scripted and brilliantly executed prequel injected some momentum into the dormant franchise.
The story ambiguously references both the 1968 and 2001 version of Planet Of The Apes, depending on which one its intended audience had previously seen, but can also be viewed as a standalone experience. A very rare feat.
A scientist with noble means experiments on chimpanzees to discover a cure for Alzheimer's, but when unexpected side effects put the project on the back foot he smuggles the last surviving chimp out of the lab and take him home, where he makes the discoveries of a high intellect in the primate.
The pet chimp, named Caesar, soon becomes impounded and starts a rebellion among his other apes, resulting in them breaking free from their prison and not letting any man, even the armed forces stand in their way.
It really is the stuff of sci-fi, given integrity and feasibility by excellent writing and direction. The performances aren't too shabby either, with good acting from James Franco, John Lithgow and Frieda Pinto, but the standout star without a doubt is Andy Serkis and the collaborating visual effects aces, who outdo themselves bringing Caesar and the other apes to life.
A breath of fresh air from a major Hollywood studio, creating a prequel which not only matches, but nearly betters the original film.
8/10

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (15)
D: Matt Reeves
20th Century Fox (Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver)
USA 🇺🇸 2014
124 mins

Science Fiction/Action

W: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
DP: Michael Seresin
Ed: William Hoy & Stan Salfas
Mus: Michael Giacchino

Andy Serkis (Caesar), Jason Clarke (Malcolm), Gary Oldman (Dreyfus), Keri Russell (Ellie), Toby Kebbell (Koba), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Alexander)

Not quite the missing link in the Planet Of The Apes universe, but still very enjoyable, this follow-up to 2011's Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes pre-dates the events from the original 1968 film (and the 2001 "re-imagination") but merely recycles the same plot from one of the original film's sequels, 1973's Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, in which Caesar and his ape family live in relative harmony in the woods while the surviving humans from a global pandemic require the use of a dam to generate power as they try to rebuild civilisation.  Caesar wants both humans and ape to co-exist in peace, but some apes, especially those who were victims of experimentation at the hands of humans are ready to go to war, leading to a division of loyalties.
Like the 2011 film, the visual effects are astounding, with Andy Serkis and other actors once again donning a special suit to perfectly capture the range of emotions which give the chimpanzees their own individual characters.
Despite lacking the originality or intelligence of it's predecessor and quite blatantly ripping off a previous Apes instalment, it appeals to a much broader audience than the niche, dated originals and sets up the next film quite nicely.
7/10

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (12)

D: Matt Reeves

20th Century Fox/TSG (Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver)

USA 🇺🇸 2017

140 mins


Science Fiction/Action


W: Mark Bomback & Matt Reeves [based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver]

DP: Michael Seresin

Ed: William Hoy & Stan Salfas

Mus: Michael Giacchino


Andy Serkis (Caesar), Woody Harrelson (The Colonel), Steve Zahn (Bad Ape), Karin Konoval (Maurice), Terry Notary (Rocket), Ty Olsson (Red), Amiah Miller (Nova)


The third film of Planet Of The Apes prequel series, following Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes ties events even closer to the original 1968 movie (or the 2001 remake, if you wish).

War between ape and man has raged on for years, and the last human survivors hunt for Caesar, the leader of his tribe, who would much rather have peace, but not at the expense of his species. 

Woody Harrelson plays a psychotic army Colonel who locates the tribe and imprisons them in a concentration camp, where their slave labour assists with the building of a huge wall which is planned to keep out a human contingent which the Colonel fears are against him and his plans.

The plot has rather unsubtle parallels with real events from the Second World War which don't work as well as they could, but the film does manage to stay both entertaining and enjoyable, helped with amazing visual effects which are even better than the two preceding films. 

Though it's a motion capture performance, Andy Serkis truly does a brilliant job in the lead performance, and you'd be forgiven in thinking that it was a real chimpanzee delivering such realistic work.

7/10


War for the Planet of the Apes
War for the Planet of the Apes