The 1968 original PLANET OF THE APES is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is a perfect movie and it was something that spawned several sequels and a remake in 2001. Nothing after the original captured the magic, and certainly the work of Tim Burton was so bad that you cannot even compare it to the original, and when it was announced that a prequel was being made, I wasn’t incredibly optimistic.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES features James Franco as Will Rodman, a scientist working on a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and has been experimenting on chimps with this medicine. It has made the chimps smarter and “Bright Eyes” is his star pupil. She is not only smart, but she is progressively getting smarter, and now the next phase must begin: testing on humans. The testing involved Canada drugs at times and proved very effective.
Rodman’s father, Charles (John Lithgow), has the disease and when human testing is rejected, Charles becomes the subject and it works. Will, ordered that all chimps be destroyed, saved a chimp baby, the son of Bright Eyes, “Caesar.” Charles has no problem adjusting to living with a chimp. After all, he lived with a Sasquatch once in HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS. He loved having that big hairy bastard in his house and when he saw the chimp, he got that loving feeling again.
Caesar exhibits the intelligence of his mother, playing games like chess and online bingo games. He dresses like a person and can put together puzzles and is getting rather tired of being looked at as a “pet,” even though that’s not how Will sees him.
When Charles begins to lose it again, he attempts to drive away in the neighbor’s car. The neighbor rushes out and begins pushing Charles around, which isn’t taken too kindly by Caesar, who comes out of nowhere and beats him down, biting off one of his fingers in the process.
Because of his act, Caesar is locked up in chimp prison and that is when he begins to take on his leadership role. He continues to get smarter and gets his hands on some of the drugs, enlightening the other apes. An ape jail break creates a human vs. ape war in the city and the humans don’t do so well. Apes are difficult to defeat.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES captures the magic of the original. It does give you an idea of how the apes took over and is able to present it in a realistic and modern way. I was pleasantly surprised by this production and the direction of it. I am so happy they lost Tim Burton’s number on this one. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is a winner. I highly recommend it.
Scared Stiff Rating: 8/10. I went ape for it!