I confess, I’ve never seen the original and neither would I want to, I see enough talking apes out on the street to make me not want to see them on screen as well. Plus, I never got what Moses was doing in a spacecraft in the first place, isn’t he supposed to be in Egypt milking goats?
So I don’t really care how the reboot stands up to the original franchise, but this was a good movie. Not great, the pacing was off, some unnecessary side stories thrown in (the inclusion of Freida Pinto is perplexing, her character is redundant, her accent bizarre) and Draco Malfoy hosing down chimps? Quite the fall from grace since you know who’s demise.
Anyway, this young, strapping ape, genetically altered because his mother was a (lab) dope fiend, is like, super intelligent and stuff. He can hold spoons and use a toilet and steal from the cookie jar without getting caught.
He is called Cesar, and like old Gaius, makes a triumphant rise as a great military strategist and leader. When Dr. Dolittle (the protagonist of the whole thing and inventor of the ape intelligence formula) realizes that he can’t be kept in a domestic environment because of his violent tendencies, he gives him up to animal control and they promptly dump him in a shelter for primates.
Here he is thoroughly disgusted by the humans controlling all means of production and the exploitation of the proletariat ape for medicinal research purposes. In full Marxist mode, he instigates a glorious revolution, planting the seeds of dissent by gassing the intellectually stunted apes with the same substance that made him smarter.
With great intelligence comes the questioning of conventional morals of course and he soon accepts violence as a means to freedom, killing Malfoy and beating loads of other people senseless. The film panders along at a slow pace but once the apes hit the streets it’s like a primate Mardi Gras and you just want to join in the fun.
They go to the zoo and free their fellow primates and then have an epic showdown with the police on a suspension bridge (who are unsurprisingly outsmarted by the chimps, if all these scientists want is to experiment on a sub-intelligent species with humanoid anatomies, why don’t they just experiment on policemen instead?), where Cesar becomes the undisputed hegemon of this band of Simian outfits and rides a horse to victory. The subjugation of other, less intelligent animals obviously being the hallmark of rational beings.
Then they all run off into the forest. Dr. Dolittle chases him down and asks him to come home (what? this is like Lenin’s mother going to Petersburg and asking him to come back and churn butter on their farm at Simbirsk or something, killjoy!) and Cesar rightly points out that he is home and tells Dolittle to piss off.
Well he doesn’t, but he should have.
7/10. Loses 1 point solely because it’s a movie about apes and doesn’t feature a single shot of a banana. Criminal! I like my stereotypes ape damn it.