Aug 192011
Authors: Jason Berlinberg

Andy Serkis is the man.

Not only is he going to be reprising his role as the menacing Gollum in “The Hobbit,” but he is also the star and emotional nucleus of the new sci-fi reboot, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”
What’s more, he creates such emotion without even showing his face on screen or even talking (sort of).

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” stars Serkis as an ape named Caesar who gets taken home by doctor Will Rodman (James Franco) after a science experiment goes horribly wrong.

Rodman conducts the experiment as an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and to try and heal his father (John Lithgow) of the disease.

But when Rodman’s research advances further than planned, the consequences prove to be devastating.

For a movie that features a group of main characters who are not human, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” creates just as much emotion as the best drama movies out there.

Through the use of facial recognition technology and body suits, characters’ expressions and movements feel natural and surprisingly human.

This –– in addition to the apes displaying a strong moral compass even when dealing with the very humans that confine them –– makes them a group the audience can care about and root for.

That is what makes “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” so refreshing. Because the characters display moral values, unnecessary violence is at a minimum. The movie knows what it is trying to accomplish and buys into it, without the frivolity that plagues most releases nowadays.

As far as reboots go, this is nearly as good as it gets.

Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at

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