At this day in age you would be hard pressed to find one person who hasn’t had their life affected by Alzheimer’s; and that is what makes Rise of the Planet of the Apes such a relevant and compelling movie. I myself have had this terrible disease affect my family and I too I am waiting for the day there will be a cure not just for my sake, but also for the rest of my family and the world. Another theme of the film is fighting for the rights of the unrecognized minority. All through American history the little guy has challenged the majority to secure their rights and liberty. Although it is apes, not humans, fighting for a revolution; everyone in the world can understand this feeling to some degree. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist, Subterranean) showcases these human emotions to tell the story of apes.
Will Rodman, played by James Franco, is a scientist who is working on a cure for Alzheimer’s. His father, Charles, played by John Lithgow, has been growing increasingly worse since being diagnosed with the disease. Once a brilliant man and pianist he finds his headed clouded with words and notes that he does not understand. After Will develops a drug that helps the brain rebuild the connections destroyed by the disease, he begins testing trials on chimps. The results are amazing, not only is tissue being regenerated, but one special ape exposed to the drug while in his mother’s womb has shown increased intelligence. After his mother breaks loose and goes on a rampage to protect her newborn son, Caesar is rescued from being destroyed and Will takes him home to raise him as a child. While Caesar is growing and learning more than a human child, Will begins treating his father with the drug that Caesar was exposed to as a baby. Charles flourishes until his immune system begins to fight off the drug and he returns to his former state. For this reason Will creates a stronger drug that the human immune system cannot fight causing an outbreak to spread throughout the world and killing humans by the thousands. While the outbreak sneaks across the globe, Caesar who was sent to a sanctuary for defending Charles from an idiot neighbor has decided to start a revolution to win the liberties that humans have. Caesar steals the new drug from Will and administers the drug to the apes at the sanctuary, as soon as the medicine begins to work; Caesar teaches the other apes what he knows and creates an uprising. This is the uprising that is the beginning of the end of the dominance of the human race and the beginning of the rise of the apes.
Of all the great things about this movie the one that impresses me the most is the acting of Andy Serkis, but you will never see his face on the screen. In fact you have rarely seen Andy’s face in any of the movies he has been in, but if I tell you he played King Kong and Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you know he has broken into a new niche’ in acting. In a time when the movies are dominated by CGI, Andy is one of the best at acting like animals and other non-human creatures and his performance becomes the basis for the computer designers to create their magic. He is the Al Pacino of this kind of acting. I would not be surprised to see that one day he will win an Oscar for his work. Go and see Rise of the Planet of the Apes and as you watch Caesar and the other apes remember that underneath all the pixels and digital animation is a human, who brings emotions to creatures that many would find hard to create from scratch.