Movie Reviews: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

On the PC for tonight's viewing pleasure, the above mentioned films. Both were pretty well panned by the critics, but I am a sucker for sci-fi that has environmental or genetic manipulation themes.

Movie 1 - The apes are back and they have been digitally generated. That was the low point of the film for me. They just weren't rendered well, in my opinion, and that makes them less than believable and nearly impossible for me to feel any sympathy towards. I think short actors in costume with animatronic faces would have worked better. But I am old school that way. Overall I give the movie 3 out of 5 stars. Good plot line - altruistic scientist trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's ends up with an unexpected side effect in his ape subject. The ape gets wicked smart - smart enough to steal the retro-virus and spread the genetic alteration to his fellow apes. I like the updated story line. Much better than the original Planet of the Apes series plot where the simians were working as slave labor for mankind and they just sorta evolved and took over.

Spoiler!  Add in the twist that the retro-virus, while beneficial to ape-kind is actually deadly to humans and in the end turns into a global pandemic...well that would explain why all us humans are nearly wiped out much better than the apes turning into a military force that takes control of the planet. Those damn dirty apes! Watch for Tom Felton (aka Draco Malfoy) as the evil monkey preserve worker. Hello! NO trace of a Brit accent. Well done, you!

Movie 2 - Most of the time I cringe at remakes. There aren't many films that better the original. In this case, the update has such a different feel that, other than the main character being named Klaatu and the fact that he turns his big robot off with the classic alien phrase "Klaatu Barada Nicto!", this is pretty much where the similarities end. Again, I love a movie with a good environmental theme. Save the Earth! Kill the Humans! Well, no. Not really. Don't do that. We just need to learn to be more responsible with our planet. Go green, peeps!

That is really the point the nice lady scientist is trying to impress on the implacable Klaatu. We CAN change, given the right incentive. Impending Armageddon works nicely as incentive. Fix the planet or die. And not the slow death we are currently subjecting ourselves to with little regard for the future. Klaatu has a much faster way to rid our lovely Earth of all the pesky humans and any trace of their ruinous civilization. Some very cool special effects there. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars. And stop picking on poor Keanu Reeves, you mean mean critics. The man has a certain style that works here. He makes a damn fine alien. Love you, Keanu!


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