He’s a chimpanzee called Caesar that inherited a deeper intellect from his mother ‘Bright Eyes,’ who was used as a test subject for a drug intended to cure Alzheimer’s.
After the experiment goes awry, the lab’s CEO Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo), orders the chimps killed, but medical researcher Will (James Franco) has other ideas. With the help of a veterinarian (Freida Pinto), he adopts 2-week-old Caesar with hopes that he can develop a cure for Alzheimer’s, which has afflicted his father (John Lithgow).
It’s a pretty blissful existence for a while, as Caesar learns sign language and excels in human intellectual development, but things take another twisted turn after Caesar attacks a neighbor. He’s taken to an animal shelter where he becomes a revolutionary ape, leading a rebellion of other apes against their human oppressors as they make tracks back to their natural habitat.
Directed by Rupert Wyatt (“The Escapist”), and set in present day San Francisco, the makeup and special effects are extremely impressive. The creatures are believable enough, and once the audience buys into the concept of a highly intelligent talking ape, everything else slides easily into place.
A source of escapism for those wanting to lose themselves in another reality for an hour and 50 minutes, “Rise” is by no means a masterpiece, but it holds up reasonably well and is riveting to enough to hold your attention to the very end credits included.