Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a prequel to the four previous Planet of the Apes series and stars James Franco who we know from 127 Hours, as well as Frieda Pinto from Slumdog Millionaire, and Tom Felton who we all know from Harry Potter.
Franco plays Will, a scientist who is researching a drug that could cure Alzheimer’s, the same disease that cripples his father. The company that he works for is testing different strands on apes, and when it actually works on the ape, Bright Eyes, the company couldn’t be happier. That is until the ape goes berserk in front of the bigwigs of the corporation, thinking that the drug has had a bad side effect. Will’s boss orders the apes to be put down. It is after this that Will and another scientist find that Bright Eyes was only trying to protect the baby that neither of them knew existed. With no one else to take the baby ape, Will must take him home. He soon discovers that the drug has been passed on to the baby, who learns tasks quicker than a human would.
As the ape, soon named Caesar, grows he learns sign language and basically becomes Will’s son. Will decides to secretly use the drug on his father, believing that it will work and it does. However, the drug soon loses its effects and he regresses. Will convinces his boss to allow him to further his research into the drug and this is where things go wrong. Caesar is sent to a sanctuary after an incident involving a neighbour, but the sanctuary is more like a prison. Caesar must learn the different ways of the sanctuary and soon tries to lead the apes in a revolt.
Many people expect this move to be focused more on James Franco; however, it is Caesar, played by Andy Serkis (who played King Kong in the 2005 adaptation) that is given the most screen time. Serkis is amazing as Caesar, there are almost no words to describe how perfectly he plays the ape, obviously, he has had practise in doing so after playing King Kong, but his ability to play the different phases of Caesar’s life was amazing. We can see a transformation from child to teenager through to adult, as well as the emotions that come with what he must deal with along the way. If they had chosen to just use CGI without Serkis, the movie would have suffered to say the least. James Franco was great as Will, and it was interesting to see him in a ‘father’ role. Frieda Pinto was not as great as she was in Slumdog Millionaire but she was still believable in her role.
The movie is actually very warm and draws you in, you will be surprised by the way this film makes you feel. I’m going to give the film 4/5.