Every once and while, you get a surprise at the movies. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is one of them. It takes a sci-fi series that most people could care less about and turns it into something quite entertaining.
Will Rodman (James Franco) is a researcher, motivated by his own father’s Altzheimers, to find a cure for the disease. During the primate testing phase of his research, he finds that his drug not only seems to allow the brain to heal itself, but it also allows it to grow exponentially. Didn’t someone tell him about the recurring storyline in books and movies about tinkering with nature?
In any case, what I expected was a bloodbath of monkey on human violence. That’s not what you get. When our primate friends get superior intelligence, they also gain a higher level of compassion and seem to immediately understand that killing isn’t the best solution.
Even though the plot isn’t Academy Award worthy, all sorts of questions do pop up about human control of nature, human nature and who really is the intelligent species.
There are two noteworthy moments of the film. About half way in, the main ape Caeser, is taken to a primate shelter after he gets out into the real world and causes and incident where animal control is called out. That leads a very curious subplot about life in prison. You’re not expecting a side story about how incarceration can alter a person’s view on the world, but this was an unexpected and welcome twist.
The other spans the entire film and that’s the masterful use of computer generated apes. All of the apes in the movie are made inside a computer, but to my eye, you can’t tell the difference. This movie may stand a testament as to how good that technology is today.
Another note: This is the second film in which Andy Serkis portrays an ape. He previously portrayed King Kong in "King Kong" (2005). He was also the guy that they based Gollum from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy after.
Another, another note: no 3D was needed to make this an entertaining film.