Starring: James Franco, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis

Summary: In this amazing reboot of a beloved franchise James Franco plays a scientist named Will determined to cure Alzheimer’s. His father Charles (Lithgow) has been battling the disease for a while and is Will’s source of inspiration for creating the 112 serum. Will also adopts an ape named Caesar who responds positively to the serum and over the years shows amazing progress. Will, Charles, and Caesar live together in harmony for several years until Charles gets sick again. To make things worse Caesar gets locked up for attacking a neighbor, and is mistreated at the facility where he is being kept. To try and save Charles, Will creates the 113 which is more aggressive than the 112. Unfortunately, the 113 is fatal to any human who is exposed to it. Caesar uses his superior intelligence to expose the other apes to 113 and then leads a rebellion to freedom.

When rebooting a franchise, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. In the case of the Planet of the Apes, the 2001 movie with Mark Wahlberg was the wrong way. This film was the correct way to do it, and the main reason it works is because of the CGI work on the apes. Actors in rubber masks worked in the 60’s, but you can’t get away with that these days. The very talented Andy Serkis brought some humanity to Caesar that made you believe he was a highly advanced ape and not just a guy pretending to be an ape. This movie will introduce a whole new generation to the Planet of the Apes while keeping the essence of the original series.

Trivia: The orangutan character that Caesar befriends in prison is named Maurice after the actor Maurice Evans, who played the orangutan Dr. Zaius in the original Planet of the Apes (1968).

Rated: PG-13 – For violence, terror, some sexuality, and brief strong language.

Grade: A