Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Le recensioni americane

Esce in sala questo weekend, il nuovo reboot del Pianeta delle Scimmie, che da noi invece approderà a settembre. Nonostante la serie abbia già conosciuto ben quattro sequel e un remake del 2001 affidato a Burton, capace di rovinare completamente il ricordo dell’utopistico e amarissimo originale, i produttori della 20th Century Fox ci hanno riprovato ancora, affidando la regia ad un giovane talento inglese e contando sugli effetti speciali della Weta, per raccontare quello che sinora era sempre rimasto tra le righe.

E cioè: come è potuto succedere che le scimmie intelligenti si siano impossessate del potere, riducendo la civiltà umana a pallido ricordo da nascondere? Il primo film suggeriva un’ipotesi apocalittica, in quello splendido finale con Charlton Heston a cavallo sulla spiaggia, ora questo Rise of the Planet of the Apes fornisce una risposta alle domande di allora.

Il Pianeta delle scimmie diretto nel 1968 da Schaffer era un piccolo capolavoro di fantascienza distopica.

La stampa americana ha accolto favorevolmente il film di Wyatt, nonostante il pregiudizio negativo iniziale, alimentato anche da un primo trailer confuso e poco attraente.

Secondo Kenneth Turan del Los Angeles Times: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” does it right. Smart, fun and thoroughly enjoyable, it’s a model summer diversion that entertains without insulting your intelligence. Adroitly blending the most modern technology with age-old story elements, it’s also an origin story that answers the question that’s been hanging in the air since 1968: How did it happen that apes rule? […]

British director Rupert Wyatt’s previous feature was the excellent prison-break drama “The Escapist,” but he proved to be a shrewd choice to make a film about an entire species breaking free of eons of restraint, one that includes some of the most potent species versus species conflict since Alfred Hitchcock‘s “The Birds.”

A director who knows how to bring drive and momentum to material he connects with, Wyatt works with editors Conrad Buff and Mark Goldblatt (both veterans of several James Cameron projects) to create a crackerjack sense of pace. And cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, who shot the “Lord of the Rings” films, gives “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” an exciting wide-screen feeling while providing numerous bravura visual moments. […]

Richard Corliss di Time magazine, riconosce soprattutto il talento visivo di Wyatt e quello mimetico di Andy Serkis, nei panni della scimmia Caesar: This year’s sixth “origins” story of a fantasy franchise (after The Green Hornet, Thor, X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern and Captain America: The First Avenger) is also the year’s finest action movie. While preparing viewers for the slam-bang climactic showdown of apes and men on the Golden Gate Bridge, which everyone has seen in the trailers and which is pretty amazing, director Rupert Wyatt summons thrills in more artful fashion[…]

No question, the movie is an astounding triumph of visual effects. Again, Serkis is playing a motion-capture monkey — the prime primate, Caesar — and gives a performance so nuanced and powerful it may challenge the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to give an Oscar to an actor who is never seen in the film. Hundreds of apes are onscreen in Rise, but no real ones were in the cast; all are humans, filmed and transformed through motion capture by Jackson’s Weta Digital, the effects company that has already won five Oscars (for the three Lord of the Rings films, the Kong remake and Avatar). 

Con la consueta capacità di sintesi Todd McCarthy su The Hollywood Reporter scrive: Some old potion is served up in a reasonably spiffy new bottle in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Resurrecting a lucrative franchise for another go-round 43 years after Charlton Heston first found himself on the short end of the evolutionary pyramid, Fox has wisely steered clear of attempting another remake of the original, which was bungled so badly by Tim Burton a decade back, settling instead on a contemporary scientific yarn that serves as a plausible prequel to all the other films. Strong action, special effects and by far the most credible ape “performances” yet seen will spell box office to inspire chest-thumping in all markets.

Poco sorprendentemente, a nostro avviso, McCarthy non ha apprezzato le performance dei due attori e la costruzione dei loro personaggi. Sia James Franco, sia Freida Pinto sono, a dir poco, due pessimi interpreti, la seconda compensa con una bellezza fuori dal comune, il primo con una superficialità che non spaventa, così come si è avuto modo di notare alla cerimonia degli ultimi Oscar.

Scrive McCarthy: Unsurprisingly, the final shot duly foreshadows a sequel, which could be considerably hairier than this first installment falls flat is with the human element.

Will is a scientist and his sweetheart Caroline (Freida Pinto) is a vet, so why not make them brainy, opinionated, somewhat eccentric individuals with interesting takes on the extraordinary events their work triggers? Let them argue, debate and be inspired and/or appalled by it all, rather than just ride on their looks. Franco has some nice moments with Lithgow, himself just fine, but otherwise is mostly in fierce register as he contends with adversaries both at work and at the detention center. Pinto looks more beautiful than ever but is playing the most boringly decorous tag-along girlfriend seen onscreen in years.

Anche Peter Travers di Rolling Stone era convinto che il film sarebbe stato pessimo ed invece: Anyway, what I’m saying is that Rise of the Planet of the Apes made a monkey out of me. I was certain it would suck. Instead, the movie rises and, at times, even soars. This is all — and I do mean all — thanks to what human actors in league with computer technology can now achieve to bring the apes to life. No more guys squeezed into monkey suits and talking in posh accents. Performance-capture makes all the difference. Actors step into a body stocking covered in dots and the computer captures every move and nuance and then animates it. To watch what actor Andy Serkis does as Caesar, the lead ape in this movie, is to witness a kind of miracle. Serkis’ performance is not a digital add-on. He’s right there on set, in his body suit, playing scenes with the film’s star, James Franco, and the resulting immediacy pays enormous dividends. In fact, Serkis gives by far the best performance in the movie, deserving an Oscar nod from an Academy long suspicious of this “hybrid” performance art[…]

E chiude così:Serkis makes the idea of sequel seem promising instead of predictable. You want to follow him anywhere.

Infine Roger Ebert, che assegna al film 3 stellette, senza troppo entusiasmo: This is the movie you may have been expecting. No less, no more.
That said, the movie has its pleasures, although human intelligence is not one of them. Caesar, to begin with, is a wonderfully executed character, a product of special effects and a motion-capture performance by Andy Serkis, who earlier gave us Gollum in “Lord of the Rings” (and returns in the upcoming “The Hobbit”). One never knows exactly where the human ends and the effects begin, but Serkis and/or Caesar gives the best performance in the movie.

James Franco struggles with an underwritten role that shies away from philosophical and ethical questions and limits itself to plot points in basic English. Freida Pinto’s Caroline the pri­matologist is no Dian Fossey, and indeed gives no hints that she has even heard of her, but, man, is she gorgeous.

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