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First Impressions For ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’; Does It Live Up To The Fabled Franchise?

Written by on July 29, 2011 

Conan the Barbarian, Colombiana, Fright Night, and Final Destination 5 will be rounding the rest of the summer, but the last big blockbuster left in my opinion is Rupert Wyatt‘s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Opinions have generally been back-and-forth, but 20th Century has been pushing it as a technical marvel, with WETA Digital’s unprecedented work.

The trailers have ranged from impressive to a bit silly, but the first international press screenings have just let out and we have rounded up all the early impressions. Check them out below, partially thanks to BoM. James Franco stars alongside John Lithgow, Freida Pinto, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, and Andy Serkis in the blockbuster.

Update: Bleeding Cool has the first official review up. Check out an excerpt below:

The lead character of Rise is Caesar the chimpanzee, and it’s his evolution that drives the narrative changes, the action stepping up as he does. Though he’s not the same as “real world” apes right from the beginning – and the reason why is a simple, but essential bit of manoeuvring that serves the bigger picture well – it’s only later that he really stands apart, with some emphasis on stands. Andy Serkis plays Caesar through motion capture and while the CG, particularly of this lead character, is sometimes surprisingly unconvincing, the acting always shines through. Serkis draws us in close to Caesar and can convince, even when the character, in the last act, starts performing acts that aren’t as credible as the film’s generally grounded circumstances would suggest. Indeed, the needle dips into the red zone a couple of times. If we’re being charitable we could say that these little excesses only secure the film as being in a set, of sorts, with its 60s and 70s predecessors.

We also have another review from HeyUGuys.

Rupert Wyatt and Weta have come together to produce a film that is far better than it had any right to be. I knew that the intention was always to grip at the heart before ripping it out, but I had no idea how successful they would be at doing just that. The visual effects are the best I’ve seen in a long time, and while the script lets the film down overall Rise of the Planet of the Apes may just be the surprise hit of the Summer.

First Showing got an extended e-mail, which I’ve shared below, followed by many, many more impressions.

“This film really surprised me. I really didn’t have high hopes going in, but this is without a doubt the film of the year. THE CGI is amazing, the cast all bring their A game, and the storyline is rich and layered.

I can only hope that people aren’t put off by the fact that it’s a ‘Planet Of The Apes’ film, and give it a chance. It’s actually inspired me to go back and watch all the old films now and increase my knowledge of the whole universe.”


Totally blown away by Rise of the Planet of the Apes; benchmark-setting VFX and lead ape, Oscar-worthy; GR8 work by Oz lenser Andrew Lesnie


Just out of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, has good & bad points, ultimately kind of average.


RISE OF THE APES preview screenings are churning out big buzz! They’re loving the CG, heart & action. Caesar is an astonishing realisation!


Rise of The Planet of the Apes is a phenomenal film. Go see it when it comes out.


Rise of the planet of the apes – shonky sci-Fi fun that fits in nicely with the franchise, never rises above average but some nice SFX


Can’t wait to write my Rise of the Planet of the Apes review. It’s like a popcorn film, but with this undercurrent of paternal depth.


‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is not only an amazing special effects achievement, but a gripping blockbuster to boot #apeswillrise


As a prequel/genesis tale, Rise of the Planet of the Apes works – for the most part.


All hail Caesar! Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a triumph. This is how you make an Apes film Tim Burton! #apeswillrise


Rise of the Planet of the Apes. 3.5/5


Seeing as the US prem of Rise of the Planet of the Apes was last night. I reckon it’s probably safe for me to say that it’s bloody awesome!


Was not expecting this: RISE/APES is a wonderful throwback to humanist 70s sci-fi. #apeswillrise


I hope Rise of the Planet of the Apes isn’t embargoed, because it’s bloody brilliant.


Rise of the planet of the apes is SICK!! A defo must see!!


Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a f**ng triumph. Message ends. #apeswillrise


Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was brillant loved it. Fight scenes were incredible.


We’ve just seen ‘The rise of the planet of the apes’ & we really enjoyed it. Great effects, nods to original & some highly skilled apes! Lol

@Sniper_Gee Sniper

Just come out of surprise screening of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. One word. SIIIIIICK!?!!!!!! #apeswillrise #MustSeeMovie


Been a long time since I heard such enthusiastic whoops and cheers at a press screening #apeswillrise


Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes – apesolutely brilliant! Intelligent and emotive character-driven blockbuster.


So then, ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’. To put it simply, Superb! I want to watch it again


Listen to me when I say.. Myself and @Saffer88 just went to a screening of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. F*cking. Immense. My fav film!!!


Just seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes and it was rather brilliant. #ApesWillRise


Have just watched Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes – impressive! Out Aug 11, Go see!


The Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is literally incredible. Definitely catch it when it’s out on 11th Aug


Very impressed with rise of planet of the apes. Big sci fi with brains and heart. #apeswillrise


Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is brilliant! ‘Apes’ acted the humans off screen… Sequel soon please #riseoftheapes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters August 5th, 2011.

What do you think about these first impressions? Will you see it opening weekend?

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