For those old enough to remember the TV series or the original films with Charlton Heston, Planet of the Apes is about a few humans stranded on a strange planet where the apes are the dominant species and the humans are the ones kept in cages and treated as animals. In 2001 Mark Wahlberg starred in a remake of Planet of the Apes that wasn’t really a huge success. But in these days of reboots and remakes, Rise of the Planet of the Apes takes us to the roots of how it all began and how the apes came to be the dominant species!
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Film review PlayEject
James Franco (127 Hours) is Will Rodman, a bright young scientist heading a team of fellow boffins employed by a global company to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The project is tested on apes that are kept in the company lab but when the experiments go wrong, the apes are ordered to be destroyed along with all scientific findings on the potential cure. However, Will Rodman’s father (John Lithgow) is a sufferer of Alzheimer’s so beings work at home in secret.

When a baby chimpanzee is discovered in one of the company apes’ cages, Rodman sneaks the baby chimp out of the company and looks after him at home. Its not long before the baby chimp is showing incredible signs of developed intelligence – the giveaway characteristics of the Alzheimer’s cure side effects. Keeping the baby chimp, named Cesar, as a secret is challenging and eventually Cesar is forced to go into a reserve with other apes.

Not being used to other apes, Cesar is forced to adapt to communicate with his fellow species using sign language or encouragement through basic communication. This is all done brilliantly – there’s no dialogue between the apes but understanding what is going on is done cleverly.

There’s a whole host of other events going on around all this – from the nasty keepers at the ape reserve to the cure for Alzheimer’s being tested on Franco’s father and the love interest with Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) but none of these things overshadow the key story of Cesar and his development and rise to leadership amongst the other apes.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Film review PlayEject
Once the apes breakout and start to make their bid for freedom, the action kicks up a notch. The scenes over the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge are amazing and will have you on the edge of your seat. Its difficult to review Rise of the Planet of the Apes without saying too much and giving bits away – its a film that gives you what you would expect but then goes that little bit further to surprise and entertain you more than you hoped for.

One thing that was apparent to us while watching was how easy it could be for something like this to actually happen – ok so the Apes might not become the dominant species and it could all end up that we contract some killer disease and become zombies – but the way the drug testing is done really made us think!

We can’t wait for the sequel although we’ll definitely be watching this again before that time. Superb film.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes trailer:

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