When something has been around for 48 years and there has already been the original novel that started it all, six films, and two TV series, you can’t help but wonder how anyone could come up with something fresh. Meanwhile, reboot is the automatic fixer-upper in Hollywood and right now it’s all rage. So it’s no surprise that yet another franchise gets a do-over this weekend as we bear witness to the Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Getting your foot in Hollywood’s door probably takes a huge case of luck. I would imagine even more so when your only feature film to date is a little Irish prison break flick (The Escapist). For director Rupert Wyatt, maybe it helps to have some friends in the system. Brian Cox reteams with Wyatt now along with the already strong cast of James Franco, Freida Pinto, and John Lithgow. By adding Andy Serkis providing the motion-capture as “Caesar” the ape himself, you’ve got quite the cast.
In Rise, we are introduced to Will Rodman (Franco). Working at GenSys, he’s finally found the cure to Alzheimer’s called ALZ-112. During a presentation to some investors however, Chimp #9, nicknamed “Bright Eyes” (Terry Notary), goes on a simultaneous rampage nearly destroying the facility in the process before she’s shot down by a security officer. Turns out that “Bright Eyes” wasn’t being aggressive, she was being protective. See, she was pregnant and had given secret birth to a male baby in her lab cell.
Now Will is taken to task by his lab partner Robert Franklin (Tyler Labine) to put the baby down after he’s already been forced to put down the first twelve. So naturally, Will takes the baby home where his own father, Charles (Lithgow), names him Caesar and over a period of eight years Will realizes that “Bright Eyes” has passed down the ALZ-112 and the baby ape grows up to be a sign language using super-intelligent simian.