I didn’t see “Rise” when it came out in the theaters. I saw it when it came out on on video. Since then I’ve seen it several times and while I liked I think that the amount of love it get’s is a bit overrated.
One thing I notice is when people discuss the movie and about things they like about the film what they don’t talk about is the human characters. James Franco’s acting came out as flat during the film. I believe there was a rumor that he thought the film was bad and that he only did it for the paycheck. I’m not sure if that’s true but if that’s the case his acting showed it. Or maybe it was just an acting choice he made.
Next supporting characters. I believe a film rises(we see what you did there) and falls based on the strength of the supporting cast. So how were they? “Hmm…?”
Frida Pinto’s character was useless. It was underwritten and was a typical girlfriend role. She added nothing and if her character wasn’t in the film nothing would be lost. Nothing was gained with her being in the film as well.
Tom Felton’s character is there because I guess we needed someone who’s evil for the sake of being evil. Why is he evil? Who knows? He doesn’t have a character arc(most of the humans don’t) he’s just a sociopath for no reason than to push the plot along.
James Franco’s Boss. The film’s telling us that he is a villain(because he’s corporate I guess) but when you think about if James Franco’s character had listened to him at the beginning he wouldn’t have caused the fall of mankind.
John Lithgow as the Franco’s father was probably the 2nd best character in the movie and the best human. He had an actual arc in a “Flowers for Algeron”(SPOILERS!) kind of way. We see him start from the bottom(Alzheimer’s) become functional again and his inevitable decline. He had a believable and touching relationship with Caesar than Franco did and his function in the story that helped lead to the final act was the emotional component the film needed.
Easily the best character in the film is Caesar. Also the best acting in the film I feel is the apes themselves. The way the actors move, behave and interact with their environment is only a product of CGI motion capture. This is about the skill of the performer. One example of this is when “Franco’s Father” symptoms start to act up again and he is having trouble with the silverware. Cesar’s expressions and actions was touching. There was talk at the time for Andy Serkis to get nominated for an academy award for his performance. I agree but the reason he didn’t is I feel the academy doesn’t understand the technology and the acting that was underneath it. They probably felt that the CGI was doing the acting and not him. Maybe they felt they were watching a “glorified cartoon”(and we know how much (lack of)respect the academy has for the art of animation).
Another issue I have about the film is characters disappearing for long stretches. An example would be the humans. James Franco’s and Frida Pinto’s characters are gone for long stretches. Ideally we need the humans as a analog to help bring us(The audience) into the story. We enjoy the ape parts(or should) more because we have a human story balancing it out(roughly the same idea for having humans in the transformers movies(also not executed strongly there as well)).
Even though there are logic problems and underwritten characters in this film I always feel no film is perfect, the question is if it’s good enough to overcome it’s flaws? I feel it did but only barely. One positive is the new film “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” has a new director Matt Reeves and another writer Mark Bomback to help out previous writers Rick Jaffe and Amanda Silver. Hopefully this will cure the issues I’ve had with this film.