Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I am constantly amazed how movie technology seems to be getting better and better every time there’s a new film coming out that uses CGI and other special effects. Rise of the Planet of the Apes gets a thumbs-up from me in that area.

It’s incredible how Andy Serkis got transformed into Caesar, the chimp, in this movie. The illusions are so seamless and you’d really believe you’re seeing an animal with extra-ordinary intelligence.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a prequel to the 2001 Planet of the Apes that starred Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter. I only saw bits and pieces of that one while surfing channels on cable TV but that didn’t affect how I watched this newest installment. Those who haven’t seen the first movie will still be able to understand this new offering. After all, it’s something that supposedly happened before the first story. 

Here, James Franco plays Will Rodman, a scientist who dreams of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease by testing a genetically engineered retrovirus on chimpanzees. The virus was found out to give the chimps a higher level of intelligence. Unfortunately, things went wrong when a test subject went berserk and cause substantial damage on the laboratory. Unknown to the humans, the chimp had given birth to a baby which explained her odd behavior. 

The head of the program ordered all the chimps to be put down but the person tasked to do the job couldn’t bring himself to kill the baby chimp. Will was forced to bring it home, eventually decided to raise him, and named him Caesar. The virus was passed on from mother to son so Caesar exhibited signs of intelligence as he grew up.

In desperation to see his father get better, Will gives a sample of the cure to Charles (John Lithgow) who is afflicted with Alzheimer’s. For a while, Charles showed marked improvement but the dementia returned in the end. Meanwhile, Caesar continued to grow and became a threat to their neighbors. That led him to being admitted to a primate facility run by John Landon (Brian Cox) and his son Dodge (Tom Felton) who treats the animals with cruelty.
Watch the movie to find out how Caesar made his fellow apes more intelligent, how they all came to get out of the facility and what it is they really wanted. Discover too how a more powerful form of the virus was hinted to be the cause of a pandemic that is about to affect humankind.

The story is a good reminder for people not to try to change everything. It's wise counsel to let some things run their courses and I am one of those who believe that not everything is this world is meant to be changed.

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