If readers took this column’s suggestion for a look at the 2005 “King Kong” earlier this week, they might be intrigued to see how another movie maker depicts an “ape victimized by humans and then unleashed in an urban environment” storyline. This summer, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” will be released in theatres. It is the sequel to 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” which is a reboot of the “Planet of the Apes” franchise.
“King Kong” places a single ape in New York, and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is set in San Francisco and stars James Franco as Will Rodman, a scientist who is working hard to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, a condition that plagues his father, Charles (played by John Lithgow). Thus he is a slightly more sympathetic character than the driven movie director in “King Kong.” Rodman’s team of scientists thinks they may find some answers after conducting drug experiments on chimps. But after an experiment goes wrong, Will is nearly fired. He takes the one surviving chimp, Cesar (played by Andy Serkis), home. Exposed to an experimental drug, Cesar grows up to be highly intelligent. He gets into a fight with a neighbor and is taken to a sanctuary. While there, Cesar becomes the leader of the animals and, they start a revolution.
The action scenes and special effects in the film are amazing. Cesar and the other animals all look very realistic. The most effective scene in the movie is the revolution at the end. It is a lot of fun to watch the apes terrorize the cars and people on the Golden Gate Bridge.
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” has a strong cast. James Franco does very good work as Rodman, a committed scientist who takes a lot of risks. Frida Pinto is also strong as Caroline, a primatologist who, like most women in movies such as “Jurassic Park” and “King Kong,” understands better than others how the animals have been victimized by human interlopers. John Lithgow is effective as Charles. He is very authentic as a person with Alzheimer’s. The best performance in the movie is given by Andy Serkis. He shows that Cesar is very smart and very tough.
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is a good choice to watch before seeing “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes."