Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Although this post needs to be prefaced with a spoiler alert, it’s important to note that the biggest spoiler is, of course, the title of this movie. The apes win.

The Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a brilliant remake, reinventing the rebellion of intelligent apes first seen on the silver screen well over thirty years ago.

Rather than providing a movie review, I’d like to focus on one aspect of the movie that worked remarkably well, and that is the use of non-verbal communication.

Screenwriters Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa did what few other recent screenwriters have done over the past few years and that is to take the time and care to methodically plan a storyline that is largely devoid of contrivances.

The story has a natural feel to it, strengthened by their use of non-verbal communication, which was always going to be so important about a story with apes, orangutans and chimpanzees.

Once young Caesar is brought home, the movie switches gears and a sense of pathos is built with the audience.

We see the young chimp constantly pressing up against an ornate glass window in his attic room. The window has a peculiar circular pattern.

Casear stares out through the glass he could so easily break, watching children playing on the street, people arriving in cars, confrontations with the neighbours, etc. He sees the world through that window.

Then, when imprisoned, our juvenile chimpanzee scratches the rough design of his beloved window on a concrete wall and falls asleep leaning against it. That simple imagery effectively conveying the idea of a comfort blanket to all those watching.

Still later, after the uprising has begun, we catch a fleeting glimpse of the same motif scrawled over a stop sign. It has become the symbol of the rebellion, having journeyed with the young Caesar through his adolescence into adulthood, its fleeting curves representing his life’s journey.

It’s the soft touches, the subtleties like this that allow Rise of the Planet of the Apes to communicate so effectively without words.

If you haven’t see Rise of the Planet of the Apes, what are you waiting for?

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