After the failed second attempt to adapt Planet of the Apes for the modern audience, the writers have wisely rebooted the franchise to focus on the apes instead.
A scientist is developing a cure for Alzheimer’s and tests it on chimps. When one chimp goes on a rampage and gets shot, the project is shut down. But the scientist’s assistant discovers that the reason for her behavior is an infant, who inherited his mother’s intelligence through his exposure to the drug while in the womb. The scientist decides to raise the chimp and call him “Ceasar”.
For once, special effects were not used as a money-grabbing ploy. It was so effective it created a convincing and formidable character. Andy Serkis is amazing in giving life and nuance into a computer-generated chimp.
When Caesar yelled No! you can see that he’s more than just an intelligent monkey who can solve puzzles. He is capable of reasoning and judgment.
The script supports this with an absorbing transformation from a household pet to a leader of his own species.
But besides Caesar and his character arc, the rest of the movie is forgettable. The movie doesn’t really take off until the apes rise.
The trailer pretty much gives everything away. The final showdown looked great but it was far from suspending disbelief, especially when a group of cops prefers to not arm themselves (not even tranquilizer darts) and trot off in a horse to meet a group of agile intelligent monkeys.
But despite being a bit silly, the movie delivers on what it sets out to do and succeeds in setting up a sequel. It is about the rise of the apes, after all, sparked by one highly evolved chimp.
Rise of The Planet of the Apes (2011)
Rise of The Planet of the Apes is a promising franchise starter with impressive visual effects and a compelling character story.