Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

The latest in the series of Planet of the Apes turned out to be entertaining enough and faring better than most of the summer's blockbusters. The beginning was a bit slow, but set a good foundation to build on Caesar's character. With all the newest technology, the CGI captured Caesar's emotions and made him come off human enough.
The movie starts out with scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) looking to create a cure for his ill father who has Alzheimer's disease. He does this by testing on chimps that become intelligent when injected with a serum meant to generate cell growth in the brain. Bright Eyes is one chimp that exhibits extraordinary intelligence and Will believes he can move on to the next phase. However, Bright Eyes goes ape in the lab and is killed. Will later finds out that she was only protecting her baby.
Will takes in the baby and names him Caesar. He raises Caesar as a pet/child over the past eight years who also exhibits high intelligence inherited through his mother. Caesar 's has a not too friendly run in with an angry next door neighbor that leads to Will meeting and falling in love with a beautiful veterinarian, Carolina (Freida Pinto). Will also secretly injects his worsening father with his formula and the man not only gets better, but smarter.
Just when everything seems to be going alright, Caesar starts to question his origins and Will's father starts showing signs of Alzheimer's disease again. Caesar has another run in with the angry neighbor while protecting Will's father and this time is caged in an ape sanctuary. Here is about the time the movie finally starts to pick up the pace.
Caesar learns survival and about human cruelty, and I started rooting for the chimp here. He learns survival because; he is beaten down by the alpha male of his fellow simians in the shelter. He learns about human cruelty when the facilities owner's son, Dodge, starts harassing him. Yet, with his high IQ Caesar formulates a plan of escape. He emerges as the leader of his fellow apes and leads a revolution, climbing trees and buildings and finally leading to the big show down on the Golden Gate Bridge. All the action scenes you see in the trailers scraped up into the last act.
Pretty much, all human involvement was cast aside by the apes and the story really focused on viewers cheering for the future enslavers of humanity. Humans were pretty much there to show all the evils of animal cruelty to greedy pharmaceutical.
I would have liked more action, but the movie kept me entertained and there was enough character development in Caesar to keep the emotional aspect hitting hard. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was not a movie that looked interesting to me, but much to my surprise, I loved it. The story did have your cookie cutter characters and Will fell in love with Carolina rather quickly, but after all, the story wasn't about them.

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