I am not a big Planet of the Apes fan but when my esteemed Editor got me tickets to the New Zealand premiere I thought it would be a good night out. Instead of queuing up for tickets at the movie theatre people in medical white coats directed us to the guest list where my name was ticked off. Then to the ‘tent’ where we had to be scanned and given our vaccines. Inside we were offered popcorn, icecreams and drinks all on the house. This was all quite exciting for someone who never sees a movie on the day it comes out and certainly never a week before it’s released at the movies. 3D as well so on went the glasses and the fun began….
Only 1 in 500 humans has survived the Simian flu which has dramatically reduced the population in California so they all live in a compound in a ruined and wasted San Francisco. The apes live peacefully in the redwood forest, hunting animals and discussing the lack of humans amongst themselves. But one day out hunting, what do they both see? Humans see apes, apes see humans and the chaos starts. There is a dam in the ape’s area of the forest which the humans want to reactivate so they can generate power to contact the rest of the world and see who’s out there. Cesar (head ape) says wisely ‘ape not want war’ and gives the humans 3 days to get the dam going again.
Of course war does break out…and there are some scary and gruesome bits but it’s a good movie. It’s more good ape versus bad ape…the human characters don’t have the same impact. I can’t even remember the lead actor’s name. The apes are the stars of the show. Especially Maurice he is a cutie if you go for altered orang-utans. The CGI is really good but it’s done by Weta Workshop so what do you expect. I thought to myself this is good CGI as I had read somewhere it’s really hard to make fur or hair move and look realistic. I read the NZ Herald review which gave the same opinion but I did come to that conclusion myself after comparing it with Monsters Inc where Sully’s blue fur wafts around him very realistically. The only minor criticism I would make is that in some of the fight scenes they get the ape’s body dimensions wrong and they just looks like guys in ape suits fighting. But that is a minor detail really – go and see it it’s a great film and you will enjoy it.