San Francisco Professor Will Rodman (James Franco) seeks to find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, as his father Charles (John Lithgow) suffers from this malady. When a female test subject reacts badly to treatment, Professor Rodman adopts her son, a baby ape. While Charles names the ape Cesar (Andy Serkis), Professor Rodman provides a nurturing environment and pharmaceuticals that promotes intelligence.
Tragically, paradise is lost and Cesar ends up being a captive in a monkey house run by John Landon (Brian Cox) and his sadistic son Dodge Landon (Tom Felton). After torture and abuse, Cesar organizes his cell-mates and creates the **Rise of the Planet of the Apes.**
Director Rubert Wyatt provides realistic logic to Cesar’s evolution, making Cesar’s growth a joy to behold. Wyatt is not afraid to present static scenes with no dialogue. The audience gets to know Cesar and his compatriots, as well as the rogue’s gallery of brutal humans. When dialogue is spoken, the words actually have meaning.
In spite of the epic grandeur of this movie, **Rise of the Planet of the Apes** is full of clever details for the **Apes** fans. Shortly before one climatic moment, a cameo appearance from the late Charlton Heston helps set the dramatic moment on a subconscious level. It is a bone chilling moment.
Given his performances as “King Kong” and “Gollum,” Andy Serkis is the perfect actor to play Cesar in his motion-capture costume. The Academy Awards should create a special category for this type of performance. As Professor Rodman, Franco puts behind his public relations fiasco at this years Oscar’s ceremony. Given his success as Draco Malfoy, hopefully Tom Felton will be able to play a nice guy soon, for the actor is quite good as the cad you love to hate.
Good Science Fiction is often a parable of modern times. Given the setting in San Francisco, one must consider the political consideration of a Cesar candidacy. Given recent headlines, Cesar would be a better San Francisco Representative for Congress than Nancy Pelosi.