Rise of the Planet of the Apes
An experimental treatment for Alzheimer’s results in a synthetic virus fatal to humans, but which heightens intelligence in apes, thus setting up a war that will culminate 2,000 years later with Charlton Heston blubbering beneath the Statue of Liberty. This whole series has gotten out of hand, from an amusing feature-length Twilight Zone episode in 1968 to this slick, arid mix of live action and animation, a showcase for Andy Serkis’ motion-capture modeling of Caesar the superchimp. James Franco and John Lithgow, as Caesar’s “owners,” are kept in the background, while Freida Pinto, as a sympathetic vet, barely registers at all. The time paradox in 1971’s Escape From the Planet of the Apes was much cleverer than Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver’s script, which posits San Francisco as a hotbed of animal abuse (who knew?).