Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Movie Review: James Franco vs. Ape

Kind of on a whim we rented this last night:

It's James Franco's directorial debut, adapted from a play that he co wrote and it was pretty ok. I mean really, it wasn't amazing but it was interesting enough, and interesting because of Franco himself. Another reason I wanted to rent it was the Japanese title:

For those of you who can't read Japanese that puts the title of the movie as "James Franco vs. Ape", the original title is included as a subtitle which is pretty common. I love how, in order to sell the movie on his growing "name" status, they've incorporated his name into the title and pitched him in some kind of madcap rivalry with the Ape. What's even cooler is that considering how much involvement Franco has, it actually makes a lot of sense as a title.

The movie has a lot of strengths, in the performances, the dialogue and more; but in the end the deliberately off-beat pacing and scoring saps a lot of momentum, and the ending was frankly the obvious one that I had hoped wouldn't be the actual ending. Also it never really transcends it's theatrical origins. This is always a problem for movies that come from plays, as Franco himself acknowledges in an accompanying interview, but despite his best efforts... it still feels like most of it is on a stage.

James Franco by the way. I was never interested in him in the slightest, he always seemed like a vaguely pretty up-and-comer from what I saw of him in the first two Spider-Man movies and things like that. The turning point came in Spider-Man 3 when he had that incredible scene in the cafe where he's eating cake. He was awesome there, and then I read a very flattering interview with him, saw him in Pineapple Express and now I'm really interested to see what he'll do next.

I'd also like Spider-Man 3 renamed "James Franco vs. Spider-Man" for the Japanese market.


  1. I really like this review of The Ape, and it's always nice to meet another fan. May I post a link to your review on Twitter.com/JamesFrancoNews?