I have a confession to make. I have never seen any of the previous movies in the Planet of the Apes saga. But I know the story and frankly, as an individual movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes stands out as the finest revival film I have ever seen.
It is in part based on the fourth movie, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, although it does not fit into that continuity. A genetically altered ape named Caesar is born in an animal testing laboratory that is working on a drug to cure Alzheimer’s disease. When the testing phase goes horribly wrong, a scientist named Will Rodman (James Franco) takes the baby ape home to live with him and his aging father (John Lithgow) who is suffering from dementia.
Will is marveled by Caesar’s advancing intellect, and he continues to study him over the next eight or so years. Meanwhile, when Rodman smuggles the drug home to test on his diseased father, there are amazing results! So amazing that the drug development continues. But little do they know that they are toying with the destruction of his species.
This descriptive prequel answers some of the important questions that have been left unanswered for decades. And it does a very good job of it. The smooth way the camera moves combined with magnificent CGI makes this a very interesting picture. It took the motion capture technology from 2010’s Avatar and applied it to the chimps. Actor Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, could be up for an Oscar for his great portrayal of Caesar!
I think the key point this movie makes is to show the events from the ape’s perspective. It isn’t like a monster movie where all you see are people running from mad creatures. You can sympathize with the apes even though they don’t speak.
By the way, don’t rush out of the cinema at the end of the movie. Make sure you stay to watch the end credits.
Age Recommendation: The movie may be a little distressing to some, as although the most gore this film has is people sneezing blood. There are some intense ape attacks and a lot of shooting and war scenes, not to mention an entire race dying out. Still, I’d say it isn’t too bad. Maybe parents should see the movie first to judge whether it’s ok for their kids. 9+.
Final Verdict: Bravo. 10/10.