Tag Archive: james franco

Planet of the Apes

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This week is going to be a blur.

I already know it because it is the start of 4H judging season. This past Monday was the food judging night. We prepared by making cookies, sweet rolls, and cheese muffins.

Wednesday is the clothing judging day. And then starts the race to get all of the rest of the projects done. Along the way some of our chosen projects will get pushed to the wayside. We did not get them done and therefore, it is not going to happen. I am not sure if that is better or worse than the year someone’s corn stalks were attacked by raccoons or when it was so dry there were not enough tomatoes to put on a plate.

To me that is OK because there is always next year. Maybe something was too much of a challenge for this year but next year it will make more sense or have more relevance. At least, that is what I am hoping.

Planet of the Apes - DawnThis past weekend saw the release of Dawn of The Planet of the Apes and it is a movie that is being called better than the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It is very rare that a sequel is better than the original movie. The only other movies in my book like that are Toy Story 2 and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Both movies continue the story in spectacular fashion while making their own compelling and watchable film.

Over the weekend, one of the cable stations ran the 2011 Planet of the Apes movie. As I watched with my son, I noticed that certain elements from the original Charleston Heston movie had to be retained. The line, the famous line of “Get your hands off of him, you damned dirty ape” was re-written but included when a hateful zoo keeper tortures Caesar for fun.

It is a long movie, set in San Fransico. James Franco plays Will, a scientist looking for a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease that plagues his father, John Lithgow. Caeser was born to an ape who was given a drug to help cure Alzheimer’s but it also made her smarter. Caeser inherits these abilities which become known after Will takes him home.

There is much, much more. But what I find most interesting of all is how the Apes develop. The back story involves a man-made virus. And the teens at my house felt that this was a reasonable concern. I told them that the original movie gave nuclear war as the explanation.

Planet of the Apes - RiseRemember the final scene when Heston comes upon the top of the Statue of Liberty on the beach? It is then that he realizes Man destroyed the planet somehow, that this is how the Apes came to take control. Funny how the explanation for what destroys life as we know it now comes in the final scene of the 2011 movie as well.

Both movies are compelling while dealing with our fears. Just as my generation feared nuclear destruction, it seems our children also fear a man-made tool of destruction. But this one is created in a lab.

Wondering who should watch this movie? I would go with tweens and older. I personally think parts of this movie is too long and drawn out to keep the attention of the younger kids. Some of the actions might be too violent for them as well.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Have you ever been anticipating a new movie but then the critics rip it apart, making you doubt if that movie is worth your time?


I was feeling that way about Oz: The Great and Powerful. This prequel to The Wizard of Oz received some incredibly bad reviews. It took a while for positive reviews to trickle out.


Poster image from IMDb.com

Poster image from IMDb.com

In the case of this movie, I was not finding anyone who liked it before hand. Only after the movie opened did friends start telling me what they thought. This was combined with the incredible box office numbers the movie was pulling in. It made me wonder if the critics knew what they were talking about or if families were hungry for a good movie.


Now that our family has seen the movie, I want to say it is a little of both.


The story is about how the Wizard comes to the Land of Oz, how his arrival was foretold by the late king and that his arrival would mean freedom for the people of Oz. But the man who arrives is perhaps not the one who was expected.


This was a beautifully photographed movie. The colors are rich, deep, enthralling. I was drawn in to the movie and did not realize time had passed.


Yet, it takes something more than rich backgrounds and incredible sets. It takes more than groups of people similar to the movie we remember that this one is connected.


After all, there are many details that foreshadow the movie we remember. The yellow brick road is there along with flying monkeys and munchkins. The poppy fields and straw men and a lion all make their appearance.


That is when James Franco must step up to make this story his and not a remembrance piece. He must play this con man with truth and conviction along with something up the sleeve that will trick even those he is working to save.


Then there are the three witches: Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, and Rachel Weisz. These women are at odds with each other in regards to the king’s death – who was poisoned. When this mysterious person comes to their land, he has to figure out who is evil and who is good. And he has to figure out which of these women know the truth about him.


As for the critics, I realize some of what they said was true, that some of the performances were bland. However, one should never mistake bland with simple because there are some deep thoughts in this movie. Some also stated that Franco was terribly miscast but I thought he was perfect as the con man looking for something more.


I know that I want to see this movie again. I want to watch for the things I missed. I know my kids loved the movie and barely made a peep because they were so enthralled. If there was a moment that might have been too scary, it was when the evil flying monkeys made their appearance. That said, I thought it was one of those few good family movies that all ages could enjoy with tidbits for the adults and bits for the kids.



Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.