This afternoon I went to my beloved Vista Theatre, with its $6.50 bargain matinees and its quasi-Egyptian decor
and its ultra-spacious seating, to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes
. On one level it's yet another loud, frenetic thriller--but at the same time, it deals with many of the social/political/power issues that the original series did, and it's also a very satisfying character study, thanks to Andy Serkis's affecting, multi-layered portrayal of Caesar. (There are also some other fascinating ape characters in the film, notably an orangutan named Maurice, after Maurice Evans's Dr. Zaius!) As an old school Planet of the Apes
fan, I never thought I could care about a new Apes
character the way I did about Roddy McDowall's Cornelius and Caesar or Kim Hunter's Zira, but I'm happy to have been proven wrong. Serkis absolutely deserves a best actor nomination--or, for that matter, a supporting actor nomination, though the film would have fallen utterly flat without him. The Academy probably won't bother to acknowledge him, but I don't expect to see a better performance in a movie this year.