Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

rise of the planet of the apes poster 2011 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great special effects on the apes

A few underdeveloped characters, open plotlines

Movie Info

Movie Name: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): August 5, 2011

MPAA Rating: PG-13


Yo Caesar dude…S’up?

Will Rodman (James Franco) while trying to create a cure for Alzheimer’s that rebuilds brains discovers his experiment ALZ-112 has been passed on to a pregnant chimpanzee’s baby.  The baby is born with intelligence and soon the chimpanzee is developing like a child.  Rodman and his girlfriend Caroline (Freida Pinto) try to raise Caesar, while Rodman’s attempt to save his dying father Charles (John Lithgow) could have dangerous consequences.

Directed by Rupert Wyatt, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a prequel to the popular 1968 Charlton Heston film.  The movie was well-received by critics and fans and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (losing to Hugo).  Many critics also felt that Andy Serkis should have been recognized for his work as Caesar.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a pretty smart and welcomed updating of the Planet of the Apes story.  The effects are quite good and for once, the apes look like apes (instead of humans dressed in costumes).  Caesar (portrayed by the always CGI Andy Serkis) is pretty well rounded, but they try to create personalities for the other apes as well.  It sometimes works, but unless they are developing a sequel with the same characters, it doesn’t really work to that level.


I know a little monkey who needs a hug!

The human actors also do a good job in a story that could have come off as a goofy action movie.  Franco is believable as a renegade up-and-coming scientist and Lithgow does a great job portraying a man with Alzheimer’s who slowly is losing himself to the disease.  Brian Cox doesn’t seem to serve much purpose as the owner of the ape rescue center, but Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy of Harry Potter fame), continues his reign as “the jerky guy that no one likes” as Cox’s son and Caesar’s bully.  The person who really gets left behind in this is Freida Pinto (from Slumdog Millionaire) who never seems to have much room to do anything in the movie other than just play Franco’s girlfriend in a couple of scenes.


They can take our fur…but they can never take our FREEDOM!!!

The story does a great job being original while weaving in a lot of in-jokes for Planet of the Apes fans.  It felt like a true origin story with room to expand and truly remake, for better or worse, Planet of the Apes (again).  There are plenty of nods to the original Planet of the Apes.  Caesar’s mother is called Bright-Eyes (Charlton Heston’s nickname in Planet of the Apes), Maurice is the orangutan (Dr. Zaius was played by Maurice Evans in the original), the classic “It’s a madhouse” and “get your paws off of me you damn dirty ape” also are featured, plus a television cameo by Charlton Heston himself (and yes there are more than just this).

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is definitely worth checking out.  It is a good movie whether you are a fan of the original or not.  There is a lot of set up for a sequel, and it is cool to see a story of how the apes came to power paralleled with man’s downfall regardless if a sequel is made.  The original story of this “rise”, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes just never had the budget (or story) that was needed to really tell the tale.  Rise of the Planet of the Apes is followed by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 2014.

Related Links:

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Planet of the Apes (2001)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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