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Last night, my wife and I watched Star Trek: Nemesis on Syfy (I can't type that without thinking "dumbest name ever"). For those who are a bit forgetful, I'll remind youMy marriage's "Nemesis"

Alex & Emma is a thoroughly predictable love story with half-realized characters and little to no tension. Luke Wilson was boring and a bit unnatural in his acting (his brotherReview: Alex & Emma

This is just too perfect. I actually laughed out loud at a couple. Super-Social Networking: Superhero Facebook Status Updates My favorites are by far Spider-Man's and Green Lantern's. They need one forSuper status updates

After a troubled history with Disney, 20th Century Fox has picked up the Narnia series and is moving forward. This December we'll be treated to the next installment in theBack to Narnia with a new trailer, and a 2010 movie update

So, today's my birthday. 40th, if you're wondering. I'm feeling slightly more like looking back and seeing how things have gone to this point than I have for previous birthdays,Birthday pimpin'

This concept video was apparently leaked from Peter Jackson's production of The Hobbit. It's an exciting early look at the controversial direction Jackson may take, thematically: [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/XC73PHdQX04" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent"Leaked Pre-production video for The Hobbit!

I know you didn't notice, but I did. This site was down for about 20 hours due to a glitch that showed I had overspent my bandwidth allocation. I hadn't,We're back, and better than ever in "We're back, and better than ever!"

Over Memorial Day weekend, my wife and I foisted my 2 kids on my parents and ran for the hills, totally taking advantage of my parents' generosity to spend 6Double Review: Narnian royalty return to take down Indiana Jones

Vampires and Lycans (werewolves) have been at war with each other for centuries. That war came to a head in Underworld. Both sides ended the movie under a world ofReview: Underworld: Evolution

How could anyone be stupid enough to let his skin turn blue? Slice of Sci-Fi has a two lists of movie trailers. Here are my favorites from their lists. The Chronicles ofBlue Skin, and movie trailers

Corporate Training & e-Learning Blog: Corporate Learning Forum is HERE! In the blog above, Jenna Sweeney talks about a new listserv for corporate training professionals - the Corporate Learning Forum. I receivedCorporate Learning Forum - why?

Community Connections Forums - Bells and whistles (if you're not a member, you get redirected to the home page... sorry.) It's a little unusual for me to quote from a discussione-Learning Glitz: misunderstanding video games

Human Brain Transplantation Protocol Approved To Reverse Nerve And Brain Damage This is one of the coolest science pieces I've come across ever. You know why brain injury is so bad? BecauseHuman Brain Regeneration

Out of the ashes of our future destruction, a new hero has been born. Gabriel Bright. Beacon of hope. Defender of justice. Burdened, as are we all, with the knowledgeThe Birth of Gabriel Bright - DC Universe

The fall TV season is upon us. Are there any shows out there worthy of watching this year? Any guilty pleasures you've just gotta have? Anything that just drains theFlashing Forward to Fall TV

Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

There was a time when I was really into The Planet of the Apes series. I watched all the movies and the TV show, multiple times. I still enjoy the first and last films in the series (I’m pretty sure it was the last film… the one where they come back in time and Ceasar is born).

Now, as may be obvious, I barely remember the titles of the films. But I have fond memories of the films themselves – even the TV series.

Then there was that Mark Wahlberg remake a few years back. Yeesh. Loved the effects, but other than that… yeesh. I still can’t keep myself from laughing when I think of that ending.

So then I saw the trailer for the new Rise of the Planet of the Apes. After Wahlberg’s entry, I was more than wary, but I gave it a shot. The trailer looked good. But it could easily be that the trailer was just hiding the schlock. I was interested, but willing to give it a pass until DVD.

Then I got a call from a friend who really wanted to go see it on opening night. Yes! I love going with someone who’s excited, and with an audience who is predisposed to like it, as the opening night crowds usually are. So I went.

I’m glad I did. This is a really good movie. Ignoring the apes for a moment, John Lithgow did a great job as the father with Alzheimers, who is the unwitting reason for the entire plot and the destruction of mankind. I enjoyed seeing David Hewlett (of Stargate: Atlantis fame) as the neighbor with a string of bad experiences. James Franco did a good job, though not really stand-out, which is a shame given he’s the star. Tom Felton (“Draco” from the Harry Potter franchise) has an important role, though I think he’s not as strong as he should have been.

But then, of course, there are the apes. The effects for the apes are really very good. There were a couple of times that I thought “oh, they had a lot of actors acting likes apes for motion capture” but frequently it really did look like it could be real apes. The moment Ceasar first speaks works perfectly. I don’t want to spoil when it happens, but … nicely done. When it gets to the action scenes at the end it was done so well that I actually believed this kind of thing could happen. So impressive.

The story was what I was really worried about, but that didn’t disappoint either. The path to the destruction of the humans is paved with good intentions, marred by greed and impatience.

There were also plenty of references to the older films to satisfy those who were looking. Between my friend and I, we caught 6 references, I believe, to some memorable events in the original film. The most obvious, of course, was the use of the “Get your paws off me, you damn, dirty ape!” Charlton Heston’s appearance was sneaky and cool. Nice use of the Statue of Liberty, and the references to the space mission were much appreciated. I think they even got a reference to the Wahlberg remake in the design of one of the apes (the orangutan).  There were a couple of others. What did you catch?

I’ll end with, appropriately, a comment about the credits. Very cool use of airline routes to evoke thoughts of missile strikes, subtly communicating the end of the world as we know it.

From start to finish, this movie was well done.

Did you see it yet? Planning to? What do you think?

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4 comments to Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

  • I really enjoyed the film and agree with everything you said. I was surprised as I wasn’t expecting to be that enthusiastic but the film completely won me over. I just read about the writer’s plans for a trilogy which I just can’t wait for!!!

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Yeah, I had seen that he had some ideas for a sequel or two. I’m up for it. He’s got a lot of open ground between this film and the timeline in Planet of the Apes. No shortage of stories he can tell. I hope they don’t rush into it, though. Get the story right first, then produce the movie. None of this “set a sequel date before you have a script” stuff.

    Reply to this comment

    Lee Sargent says:

    Did you spot the original space ship being launched in the movie?

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Yeah, that and the news headline that it was lost in space. Very cool. Loved those touches.

    Reply to this comment

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