We’re fortunate enough to live in a world of smart blockbusters. That’s not to say they’re all intellectually stimulating (far from it, in some cases), or even that they should all aspire to be, but we do have a refreshing number of franchises and filmmakers aiming for a balance of brains and brawn.
But even the deeply challenging worlds of ‘Prometheus’, ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Inception’ pale in comparison to the devastating relevance of Rupert Wyatt’s Planet of the Apes reboot-come-prequel.
Like the 1968 original, Wyatt maintains the sociopolitical undercurrents but, with the benefit of state-of-the-art animation and performance capture, this story has never felt so chillingly real. At no point do these apes seem in any way created or performed, they live and breathe up on the big screen and Wyatt absolutely makes the most of that.
When things really spiral out of control, I was left breathless, truly believing in the possibility of such an uprising. This terrified me in a way sentient robot movies have never done, and to elicit such an instinctual response is a great credit to Wyatt and his team.
‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ has finally realized the true dramatic potential of the first batch of Apes movies. By making the step-up from coconuts to mind-blowing performance capture, Rise leaves your mind spinning as fast as your racing heart . . . and, if that ‘No!’ moment doesn’t send a chill rushing down your spine, you’re a far braver man than me.