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Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Reviewed on 2011 December 30
This is an entertaining foray into the saga of the apes taking over, showing how the whole mess got started. It has more science, less action, and of course 99.9% less Charlton Heston that the original Planet of the Apes, but it’s still a decent yarn. (Heston is seen on TV in his role of Michelangelo, a bit I confess I missed).
Will Rodman (James Franco) is trying very hard to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other organic mental disorders, and his lab thinks they might have found something. A chemical called ALZ-113 shows very promising early results in trials on chimpanzees, especially one surly female whose new intelligence is only matched by her sudden onset of aggressiveness. Will learns that the female had a baby chimp he names Caesar (Andy Serkis, doing fantastic work). The chimp inherited his mother’s enhanced intelligence with a vengeance…
It’s a little harder to review this one without spoiling anything, but this was better than I expected, which is always a nice surprise. I settled in for 105 minutes of “meh” and got “this is pretty decent”. It was a lot more fun than I expected, and none of the characters really did anything stupid — the James Franco character had his head and heart in the right place, wanting to pull the plug when he saw the problems with the ALZ-113 trials. The best (and creepiest) parts were Caesar being the rabble-rouser.
Three chocolate morsels. And Watch. The. Credits.