This place matters

This place matters

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Apparently I review movies now

Apes cannot talk, Richard Dawkins tells me, not because of intelligence, but because of the larynx. At least I think it was Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale that told me this. It was a very long book and it had a lot of words, only some of which I understood. Even when I did understand the words, I had a hard time following - reading his writing is kind of like walking through loose sand - dry and dense. But I digress as usual.
Anyhoo, the larynx is an organ inside the throats of people and other critters that helps us breathe and make noises. In apes and human babies, the larynx lives high up in the throat. That lets babies breathe and swallow at the same time, and to scream without losing their voices. In humans, the larynx eventually descends, and that's how we're able to talk. In apes, the larynx doesn't drop, which is one reason apes can't talk.
Which is only a very minor example of the many plausibility issues with Rise of the Planet of the Apes; none of the others of which I can discuss without spilling spoilers. There are some fairly gaping plot holes as well, but I think you'll have that when it comes to movies about super-intelligent apes taking over the planet. There was also the problem of James Franco... has anybody else noticed that he expresses all emotions by squinting? And occasionally not squinting. And sometimes looking down and then dramatically looking up. I guess that gives him a bigger bag of tricks than Richard Gere, who expresses all emotions by blinking; but Gere uses that one trick so artfully that he blows Franco out of the water. But I digress more than usual. It's pretty darn late.
Dramatic squinting

Dramatic squinting

Dramatic Squinting

Dramatic Not (quite) Squinting
So other than the whole plausibility/squinting thing, Rise of Planet of the Apes was a pretty darn good movie. Nowhere in the vicinity of the Tim Burton travesty ten years back. I've always wanted to know how the reality in Planet of the Apes came to pass, and this movie imagined that very well. The animation was phenomenal, and Andy Serkis (who also played Gollum) was brilliant - with help from some epic computer animation - as Caesar the ape. John Lithgow put in an inspired performance as Franco's dad.
I could go on, certainly, but I could also certainly go to bed, which is what I think I'll do. Bottom line: go see it. Let me know what you think.

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