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Filmism.net Dispatch August 14, 2011

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Well, I sure got Rise of the Planet of the Apes wrong. With the love of most critics worldwide it's one of those films where I fear I might have accidentally been shown a first draft shooting script or something.

Worse still, I don't even agree with the other negative comments. Most of it's been about how so much effort was put into the CGI, motion-captured apes they forgot to give the real people enough to do.

I didn't even pick up on that, I was disappointed enough by the apes. As hard as I'm sure director Rupert Waytt and his team worked, motion capture for real creatures (or humanoid creatures) is a bit like the rocket powered jet pack. We've been dreaming about it for ages and there are one or two in use, but overall the technology just isn't there yet.

Even more disappointing, the high minded philosophical ideas posed by the original Planet of the Apes were given token mentions in this movie and promptly forgotten. For a much better version of the same idea, go back and watch the original movie again. Burton's curse, maybe?

I saw another film recently week that was made locally with Australian actors but which casts an American lead. It's hard to see it as anything other than a ploy to try and get the film to sell overseas, but I understand where Kriv Stenders is coming from with Red Dog, because with only the Australian girl from the original Transformers (Rachael Taylor) and that weird-looking guy who played the young David Helfgott in Shine (Noah Taylor), what chance does it have in the must-crack US movie market?

It's sad but – like porn and abortion – it's a necessary evil, and it's been done to turgid effect by Michael Vartan (who looked like he wanted to be anywhere else) in Greg McLean's Rogue and much better by Gregory Harrison in Razorback. Neither Vartan nor Harrison went anywhere after those films, so might the jig be up for Josh Lucas now because of some sort of ancient Hollywood curse involving Australian productions that start with the letter 'r'?

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