A decade after Tim Burton’s disappointing ‘re-imagining’ of the 1968 classic, Hollywood revisits the Planet of the Apes mythology – and this time gets it right. Exploring how the apes got their super-intelligence, the new film proves both an exciting sci-fi adventure and a powerful cautionary tale about human arrogance and folly.
James Franco plays San Francisco scientist Will Rodman, who unwittingly sets events in motion when his gene-therapy experiments for an Alzheimer’s cure lead to the creation of Caesar, a highly intelligent, lab-born chimp. Caesar is initially raised at home by Will with the aid of Freida Pinto’s sympathetic vet. But after he is sent to a primate shelter, Caesar discovers his own kind, abandoned and mistreated, and puts in motion a plan to release them from bondage.
Thanks to the motion-capture technology developed for Avatar and another astonishing turn from Andy Serkis, who brought to life Gollum in The Lord of the Rings and the big ape in King Kong, the film puts across its fantasy so convincingly that you will be swept along with the story. Look out for a series of sly nods to the original films, including a glimpse of a Statue of Liberty toy that recalls the 1968 movie’s iconic ending.