Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Bourne Identity, Gladiator, The Hobbit, The Matrix Revolutions: films on TV today

Things get hairy for a smart ape, an amnesiac spy and a hobbit: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today


Rise of the Planet of the Apes ★★★★
8.00-10.00pm C4 


If, like me, you grew up obsessed with the original Planet of the Apes series — five films, the TV spin-off, the Marvel comics, the bubblegum cards — you may have initially regarded the 2011 reboot with sniffy suspicion. (Let’s gloss over the 2001 Tim Burton movie!) However, using the motion-capture technology pioneered by the Lord of the Rings trilogy and now commonplace, this thoroughly modern addition to the mythology revives intelligent ape Caesar in the empathetic, expressive form of Andy Serkis, who brings a new anthropological realism to what is essentially a remake of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes from 1972. James Franco’s scientist hopes to cure his father’s Alzheimer’s and secretly raises Caesar at home, but when the chimp questions his own captivity and is taken away from the kindly Franco, an ape revolution brews. Thrilling and thought-provoking, it paves the way brilliantly for sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, with War for the Planet of the Apes due in 2017. 

The Bourne Identity ★★★★
9.30-11.00pm ITV 

Matt Damon is Bourne again in cinemas, starring in the fifth of the franchise, but here’s a chance to see where it all began for the amnesiac spy.

Gladiator ★★★★★
10.00pm-12.55am C4 

Ridley Scott’s staggering evocation of the Roman amphitheatre is topped by the commanding presence of Russell Crowe as the betrayed general bent on revenge.    

The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey ★★★
5.45-9.00pm ITV2 

The critics were sceptical but make your own mind up if this return to Middle-earth can hold a torch to the Rings saga. Never mind the sprawl, feel the spectacle.    

The Matrix Revolutions ★★★
9.00-11.25pm ITV2 

In the red corner: the humans. Everywhere else: the machines. The conclusion of the Matrix trilogy is as spectacular as you’d expect.    


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