I resisted Rise of the Planet of the Apes for a long time.
First, there was that Tim Burton thing, of course. I had managed to get myself to cautiously optimistic about that thing, I don't know how exactly, so, man, was that ever a kick in the crotch.
Perhaps, I should back up for just a moment and note that I think the original Planet of the Apes series is about my favorite thing that ever was a thing, so my reactions are often bigger than reasonable people might have on the subject.
Now, I liked the concept for Rise of the Planet of the Apes just fine. Retelling Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, updating the science and eliminating the time travel. That's a very good way to approach re-booting the series.
But then there was James Franco. He just bugs me at this point. Yeah, I had some kind of fondness leftover after Freaks and Geeks, but it managed to drift away with each thing that I either didn't care for or expected I wouldn't care for came and went.
The final thing that kept me from seeing it, though, was supposed to draw folks like me in. In fact, when I expressed my skepticism, people would occasionally use it as an inducement. Those callbacks to the original Planet of the Apes. On a long list of problems, that might still have managed to be the worst part of that Burton thing. These callbacks have got to stop!
So, what got me to finally suck it all up and see? Well, honestly, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, reviews like this one, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a daring and dazzling accomplishment by Drew McWeeny, and this trailer:
A magnificently modern post-apocalyptic retake of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, the problem movie of the original series.
So, I finally watched it.
And I liked it. Quite a bit, in fact.
Franco isn't bad, although he's barely over passable. The callbacks were generally ok. I'd have given one or two less name references, but they were tolerable. The homage to the hosing of Taylor was nice, until the eye-rolling "It's a madhouse!" reference.
Obviously, "Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!" was intolerable, as it was reversed in the Burton thing, but "No!" was delivered so well as to salve that wound pretty quickly.
And the second half is paced very nicely, keeps suspense building very well, and, most importantly, sets up this next one wonderfully.
The plan is to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes tomorrow. I'll be interested to see where they can lead this. My preference would be into a version of Beneath the Planet of the Apes that time travel paradoxes can't get them out of. That's probably too optimistic, but I can dream, and this is good enough that I'm feeling just a little bit dreamy...