A movie that opens as well as this one does—and draws you in so effectively—ought to have a finale that doesn’t remind you of cheesy monster movies from years past. On the other hand, the visual effects in Rise of the Planet of the Apes are so astonishing that I have to cut the movie some slack.
Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver’s screenplay starts out on a strong note, as we meet genetic researcher James Franco, who is experimenting with a drug that may help victims of Alzheimer’s Disease—like his own father, nicely played by John Lithgow. Ultimately, Franco rescues a baby chimpanzee from the lab and raises it as a member of his family, but veterinarian Freida Pinto warns him that Caesar won’t be a playful young chimp very long. This is an eventuality Franco isn’t willing to face, but moviegoers will immediately recognize as—
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