George Of The Urban Jungle: A Review Of "Rampage"
Back in 2015, director Brad Peyton gave us the earthquake disaster film, San Andreas, that starred Dwayne Johnson flying a helicopter. Savaged by the critics, the film still brought home four times its’ $110 million budget. And that’s the kind of feat that Hollywood notices and gifts you with Repeat Business. So it’s now 2018, and based on the late 1980’s video game of the same name, we have Rampage, that stars Dwayne Johnson flying a helicopter—but instead of mixing human drama with a natural disaster, we're given human drama and three monsters bringing the city of Chicago to its feet.
Are we essentially watching the same film with monsters taking the place of earthquake? Well thankfully we aren’t, and that’s largely thanks to the CGI creation, George, an albino silverback gorilla. Along with the grey wolf and American crocodile, George make up the triumvirate of cinematic monsters that were part of the aforementioned vintage video game; but the difference lies in how George is fleshed out and scene steals from The Rock constantly, and to our delight.
Regram from @therock: "Day 1. Kicking off production. #RAMPAGE. In our story we have three animals (gorilla, crocodile and a wolf) who fall victim to evil genetic editing, rapidly changing every strand of their DNA so they grow, evolve and mutate. Everything becomes amplified.. their size, strength, speed, agility.. and violent aggression. One of the animals infected - a rare Albino gorilla named, George, is my best friend. George, is played by 6'9 @tallie7487, (Jason Liles, pictured here). Jason has been studying gorillas for months now preparing for this motion capture role. Gorilla movements, body language, and all emotions - joy, pain, sadness, love, aggression etc. It's insane when you get around this man and how he's able to brilliantly embody a gorilla. This is the most fascinating advanced VFX/motion cap process I've ever worked with in my career. Incredible learning curve for me. We have the best mo-cap team in the world (WETA Digital) working on our gigantic RAMPAGE MONSTERS and you'll get a taste of this new technology in the upcoming WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES as well as James Cameron's AVATARS. With all the cool advanced technology in our movie, the #1 thing you're gonna experience when you watch it, is FUN. Because when my best friend, George no happy, then me no happy. And when me no happy.. bad people become our lunch. #Day1 #KickingOffProduction #RAMPAGE??"
As Davis, primatologist, hunter of poachers, ex-military—it seems there’s no end to his credentials so we won’t be raising eyebrows as he keeps demonstrating his uncanny ability to handle and perform various tasks—Dwayne Johnson is at his most charming, playing a role he has mastered in his sleep. And given how even Jumanji was a certified hit over the holidays, it seems audience’s can’t get enough of this film persona—okay, he couldn’t save Baywatch.
Naomie Harris as a discredited geneticist, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the ‘cowboy’ law enforcement official, are the other two characters who create some kind of recall. Not so the sibling villains who own the tech company that started the whole problem of innocent animals transforming into giant genetically modified monsters, who are cardboard characters. But as I mentioned, even more than Johnson, it is the albino gorilla, George, that creates the sparks in the film. He has the best lines... and signs.
Regram from @entertainmentweekly: #DwayneJohnson goes ape in this exclusive new #Rampage photo. ??#TheRock is bringing the video game to the big screen, starring as primatologist Davis Okoye, whose closest friend — a silverback gorilla named George — is genetically transformed into an aggressive, building-size behemoth. It’s a smash-’em-up monster movie in the vein of #KingKong or #Godzilla, but the film’s core is the bond between Davis and George — a friendship Johnson can identify with. Click the link in our bio for more. ??: Warner Bros. Pictures
With a San Andreas sequel being planned, it would seem this Director-Actor tandem of Peyton and Johnson is something we'll be seeing for years to come. It’s competent popcorn, but given this was supposed to be a film with monsters, I actually wish they had gone over the top, making them bigger, and causing more wholesale destruction. Beause let’s face it, that’s why we even bother trooping to these kind of films.
Photos from @rampagethemovie