64. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (B+)
Revisiting this, one of the major surprises of last summer, my assessment is pretty much the same: it's a very good, intelligent movie, but a couple of issues keep it from being truly great as a whole. The human characters aren't nearly as compelling as the apes (apart from John Lithgow's superb turn), for starters, but that wouldn't be a big deal if the whole James Franco/David Oyelowo dynamic that the movie sets up doesn't make sense. You can nitpick various points of scientific procedure (as people have been doing extensively in their evaluations of Prometheus
), but I can overlook little things like that for a compelling central theme, which is pretty normal in movies -- but the movie invests a lot in the idea that David Oyelowo's greed leads to the downfall of humanity, and...that's not true, at all. Everything bad that happens in the movie happens because of James Franco's actions, and the movie doesn't seem to realize that. All the same, the rest is quite thematically potent (it's a very effective update of Frankenstein
, among other things), with phenomenal effects (it's funny that I'm a big fan of Hugo
, but it definitely won two Oscars that belonged to movies that I overall rank lower than it).
Home Video: 43 (+1)