After seeing the previews for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I must admit that it caught my attention, so therefore I was looking forward to watching this title. The movie is meant to be a prequel for what happened in the classic movie Planet of the Apes. It gives an explanation to why apes could possibly get superior to humans.
At first, we see Will Rodman (played by James Franco), a scientist trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. As is common when testing medicine, animal testing has to be done. This is how the chimpanzees become part of the story. One of the chimps reacts very well to the new drug. In fact, it seems to have a capacity to improve its brain’s functions. Unfortunately, it then goes bezerk and has to be terminated.
At that point in the story, we encounter a new Chimp: Caesar, a particularly bright chimp that comes in to live with Will’s family. It has superior intelligence and it seems to learn things very fast. This is the Ape which will eventually lead the others to rebel against humans.
What is really fascinating in this movie is how the apes act like humans in this film. They all have their own facial expressions that are very human-like. I thought that the 3-D animators had done a great job, and the Extras section of the DVD made me understand why. They shot real actors playing the parts of the apes, and then used the facial expressions of the actors to model the 3-D animated apes.
For Caesar, they used Andy Serkis who had previous experience in this type of technique in Lord of the Rings. He really brings the character of Caesar to life. Also, the 3-D animations are of top notch quality, which is easily understandable when you see the number of people who worked on them in the credits at the end of the film. The film really is a technical masterpiece.
A must see if you like extremely well-done visual effects.