Directed by Rupert Wyatt
Written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
Starring: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton

Never be fooled by an overly exultant review by a critic you know to be untrustworthy. I went against my instincts to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and although it was certainly not a bad movie, my expectations were so high for a transporting experiences, I was let down.

PLOT: Will Rodman (Franco) is developing a vaccine for Alzheimer’s with a personal investment: his father (Lithgow) suffers from the disease. Naturally chimpanzees are being used as guinea pigs in the lab. Will takes an orphaned baby chimp home, the child of a chimp who has received the drug. The chimp (Caesar) displays increased intelligence almost at once and Lithgow, when given the drug, seems cured. Naturally things go bad for nearly everyone by the ending.

Stereotypes are rampant: the primate facility is run by indifferent or outrightly cruel men. The businessman who owns the drug company is callous if not criminal in his actions. Everyone either wears white or black. There is no gray on this planet.

But there are things to like. RISE does a good job of explaining how Caesar is able to become the leader he becomes. It takes its time laying out its story clearly. Franco and his girlfriend (Pinto) are likable if dull, but the script gave them little to do other than stick needles into arms and look worried. The star is most definitely Andy Serkis, playing the chimp in tandem with special effects I can’t begin to explain. The final scene is well set up and exciting. You could do worse than spend two hours at the theater. But it could have been the film my critic suggested it was if it veered away from what had gone before it.

Patti Abbott writes crime fiction short stories. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.