Seeking refuge from the 62nd one hundred degree plus day of Texas heat, I took refuge in my local theater and finally saw The Rise of the Planet of the Apes; and I’m glad I did. The movie offered up some summertime fun and was the perfect diversion from the depressing blues that I was suffering from.
The Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the prequel to the original 1968 movie which starred Charlton Heston, and explains to us how all this monkey business came about. Taking place in modern day America, Dr. Will Rodman (James Franco) has been working on a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and he is on the verge of breaking through with a drug called ALZ-112. Dr. Rodman has the added incentive to find the cure because his father (John Lithgow) is suffering from the insidious disease. After injecting a chimp by the name of Bright Eyes (Caesar’s mother) he finds that his subject’s cognitive skills increase exponentially. Everything is going as planed until Bright Eyes escapes from her cage and begins tearing up the lab in a chaotic temper tantrum which ends with her get shot and killed by security. We find out that Bright Eyes was pregnant and before her death she delivers a baby (Hail Caesar). The lab is ordered to put down all the chimps by the director of the company for fear that some type of distemper that may be spreading, but not before Dr. Rodman takes Caesar home with him.
Doctor Rodman finds out that the cognitive advances caused by ALZ-112 has been passed from mother to son and as Caesar ages, it is obvious that the traits have been passed on. The chimp is taught to “sign” by the good doctor and he is soon communicating with his adopted father. The results of the drug are so impressive that the doctor decides to inject his own father with the drug who suddenly turns lucid; but then gradually develops a virus which returns him to oblivion. In an attempt to drive a car, Will’s father crashes into his neighbor’s vehicle and is then assaulted by the unhappy car owner. Caesar, who is watching from above, immediately comes to the rescue by slamming the man, but is then taken into custody by animal control.
Locked up in a cage and abused by the caretakers, Caesar executes an escape and he takes all his fellow simians with him.
The movie is good fun with a lots of action. The real star here is the technology which uses the same methods used in the movie Avatar. The facial expressions on the chimp’s faces will have your jaw drop. Apes is good family entertainment. I recommend you see it.
My rating: 3 of 5 simians.