RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
** SPOILERS **
With a solemn straight face, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the prequel that details how mankind fostered its own destruction by genetically enhancing a super intelligent ape named Caesar who would eventually replace humanity with his own kind. Utilizing astounding visual effects by WETA and a motion capture performance by Andy Serkis to create photo-realistic apes and an emotionally resonant chimpanzee protagonist, Rise is a well-constructed science fiction parable far superior to the Tim Burton Planet of the Apes from 2001. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you will believe monkeys can take over the world. Except... c'mon, man! They're monkeys! I cannot take this shit seriously. They're monkeys! Look! Caesar's wearing a red sweater! Look at him eating CGI Chips Ahoy cookies! Even as Caesar suffers brutal treatment in the monkey gulag at the hands of Draco Malfoy (monkeys are the worst kind of Mudblood), we know Caesar is gradually planning to take over the world. Cheering Caesar on makes no sense to me. But then, there are no humans to root for either. The only humans in the picture who aren't money-grubbing dimwits or sadistic monkey-abusers are James Franco and Frieda Pinto. Franco is the super duper genius who uses his research in apes as a means to cure the Alzheimer's of his father John Lithgow. Franco brings Caesar home and raises him like his son, despite how as Caesar gets smarter and more uncontrollable, he starts terrorizing the jerk neighbor next door. (Why the neighbor didn't pack up his family and move when he and Caesar brawled around the neighborhood is his own foolish monkey business. Later, Rise uses the neighbor as the delivery system for the monkey virus that eradicates mankind.) Franco sure loves Caesar, beyond all reason, and probably more than he loves Pinto, who has no character and nothing to do besides look beautiful and utter one warning about how it's right to fear chimpanzees. How right she was. When the apes go AWOL and attack San Francisco in the action packed third act (utilizing - ahem - guerrilla warfare tactics), the pathetic response of the San Francisco Police Department was embarrassing. They bent right over and took it from the apes. The SFPD was a disgrace to our species. But what're you gonna do? In the end, the apes just wanted it more.