Friday, 10 February 2012

Viva La Evolution!

Two of the themes that I find most stirring, whether in the real, books or cinema, are "the evil that humans do" and "the freeing of the oppressed".

By the former, I mean that, as a biologist, I'm routinely appalled by our (= humanity's) self-satisfaction, and by the unthinking view that our lives are, without doubt, the most important aspect of the universe. So I derive a modicum of spiteful satisfaction from reports or tales that show us in our true light, probably completely unreasonably. As regards the latter, I suspect I'm a little more close to the norm in enjoying stories, fictional or otherwise, in which the much-put-upon throw off their shackles and reshape the order of things.

So, playing strongly to both of these themes, tonight's LOVEFiLM DVD, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was right up my alley. And somewhat unexpectedly so since the Apes series, while occasionally thoughtful, hasn't tended in these directions before. But the film's charting of the rise of Caesar from the capture of his pregnant mother in Africa, through to his triumphant escape from San Francisco definitely ticked my boxes. And the film does, for once, good service by the 1968 original, linking to it unobtrusively while also cleverly creating its own backstory as to how and why Earth came to be ruled by apes.

All that said, and even given its themes, it's probably still one that'll appeal most to science fiction fans.

Grade: A- (high +2 on the Leeper Scale)

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