There’s a reason why Rise is receiving amazing reviews and has grossed $374 Million worldwide so far:- It’s a really good movie.
Firstly, it has a strong, solid story at it’s core. There have been a few movies this summer that have impressed me, simply by having an entertaining story not cut out of my Kelloggs cereal box! This is one of them. It has an interesting structure for a modern blockbuster, giving it’s first two thirds to concept and character building, and only unleashing it’s action muscles in the last third. It’s interesting, but works brilliantly!
The human leads are also strong, aptly led by Franco, and supported by Brian Cox, John Lithgow and Tom Felton’s monkey basher (effectively an American Malfoy abusing a ‘monkey Harry Potter’).
The star of the entire show of course is Caesar, the amazing digital creation from WETA (Lord of the Rings, Avatar) with Andy Serkis (Gollum, King Kong) at it’s center. On a purely visual level, the effects are fantastic in and of themselves. The photo-realism of the apes pushes the medium like never before, breathing so much life into the animals it’s difficult to distinguish the computer creations from the real ones. That though, in our day and age is simply not enough… we’ve seen great effects before, we’re constantly seeing the next step and the next level, so much so that as impressive as the visuals can be, we as viewers are becoming numb to them. It takes a lot to blow our hair back.
Thankfully our hair is blown back… far back, and our heart strings tugged at when Caesar delivers the greatest performance of any CGI character in history. Yes, Andy Serkis’ Caesar tops both Gollum and Kong in my opinion. The emotions conveyed within his face, eyes and body language are unparalleled.
Through the well rendered combination of acting and VFX, and with solid direction from a good script, this is the tragic story of a how a cute, lovable little creature, through abuse and misunderstanding, becomes a rebel, a tactician and ultimately a great dictator.