by Lorie Lewis Ham
Special coupon for Dinuba Platinum Theatre at the end of this review.
I have seen the original Planet of the Apes movie staring Charlton Heston many times over the years, so when I saw the trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes it piqued my interest.
In Rise of the Planet of the Apes we get the back-story, or prequel, to Planet of the Apes and learn how the apes became intelligent enough to take over the planet. A young scientist, Will Rodman (James Franco), is desperate to find a cure for Alzheimer’s because he is losing his father to the disease, so he begins testing a genetically engineered retrovirus on chimpanzees. This “cure” ends up creating intelligence in the chimps that in the end has far reaching implications that they could never have dreamed of.
Early in the movie Will’s experiments take what seems to be a bad turn and all of the chimps are put to sleep except for a baby that he secretly takes home. The baby, Caesar, ends up being extremely intelligent having absorbed the drug from his mother, and becomes a part of the family. Things leap ahead to find Will married, his father whom he also tested the drug on seemingly cured, and Caesar happily living with them. But the happiness is short lived when his father starts getting worse again and Caesar attacks a neighbor and is taken by animal control.
The first half of the movie is a heartwarming story as we watch the chimp grow and become more and more intelligent and his bond with his human family becomes stronger. But the story becomes heartbreaking when things all start falling apart and begin setting into motion the path that will eventually lead to the destruction of humanity and the taking over of the world by the apes.
Because this is a prequel, this is definitely a movie that you can watch even if you have never seen any of the previous movies. It is interesting, thought provoking and at times funny and sad. In the end it has its fair share of action as well. You also get to see an American version of Draco Malfoy, as Tom Felton plays a character very similar to his Harry Potter counterpart as an evil boy who torments the apes. This was a good movie well worth watching. If your kids are old enough that they are okay with some violence, it’s a movie you should be able to enjoy as an entire family.
Rated PG-13 for violence, terror, some sexuality and brief strong language.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is now playing at Dinuba Platinum Theatres 6. Showtimes can be found on their website.