Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out back in 2011. It was a bit of a shocker when this movie first came out. No one thought that the franchise had legs to keep going. The Tim Burton remake of the movie in 2001 that bombed pretty bad in the box office. I never saw the original movies. I didn't know what to make of this reboot.
Thankfully, I did venture to the theatres to watch this one because boy was it a surprise. It blew my mind at how well thought out it was and creative it was too. Apparently there are nods to the original franchise but this movie really felt like its own thing. It seemed as though the creators had true creative control over what they had envisioned for this new reboot.
The story starts off with the introduction of Will. He's a scientist working on a brand new drug at a big corporation. This drug is supposed to revolutionize the treatment for Alzheimer. Will has a lot of vested interest in this project because his father is suffering from the illness.
It's exciting times too because it seems as though the new formula that he's created actually works! They've been testing the product on apes and the tested apes' intelligence seem to be increasing. Will is so enthusiastic about the idea that he tries to fast track the testing to human trials so that his father can get the treatment.
Unfortunately for Will, his boss refuses to go to human trials right away. Desperate for a cure Will steals some of the formula to administer to his father as his father's condition is quickly declining. When Will's boss finally agrees to go through human trials there is a terrible incident that results in the death of a test subject who happened to be pregnant.
The apes are all ordered to be executed but Will decides to take home the baby from the dead pregnant subject to raise on his own. That ape who he names Caesar retained the high intelligence that his mother had retained from the formula Will created.
Of course living with a man with Alzheimer disease and a wild ape is not what it's cracked up to be. Chaos ensues and pretty soon we start to see how apes are going to take over the world. It's a weird premise but it actually works.
I love how this all stems from understandable motives. Each crazy situation makes sense because the movie develops the characters for us to understand their motivations. I became empathetic of everyone's position and why they were doing what they were doing.
Some would think that the over the top bad humans in the zoo was kind of weird but this is the motivation for the apes to dislike humans. We've taken them out of their homeland and pretty much made them slaves and test subjects to experimental drugs. It's very inhumane and understandable of how we could give them sympathy.
In a lot of ways this movie can be used as a metaphor for many social commentary situations. Racial tensions and even how we treat animals in general. There is a very interesting discussion between Caesar and Will where Caesar is smart enough to know the difference between a pet and a peer. He understands that he's being treated as an animal rather than an equal.
Moral issues are thrown at you throughout the runtime of the movie and it really makes you contemplate our daily lives. We can see ourselves even in the interactions between the apes. This movie does a great job in humanizing everyone in this movie. It just brings up that much more drama when the big scenes hit.
Overall, I still had a great time watching this movie even over a decade later. It is such a great story and I think everyone can understand and have a good time with this. The story can get a bit deep so you'll have to be in the mindset at certain moments. I have to give this movie an 8.5 out of 10. I keep recommending this to my friends. Especially the ones that haven't seen it. Don't let the title fool you. This is very much a human story.