Franco plays Will Rodman a scientist who's researching on a cure for Alzhemers in which his father Charles (John Lithgow) has that condition and at the moment it's becomes increasingly worse. He developed an experimental drug ALZ-112 in which it will fully treat Charles'. He works at a company in which scientists are using poached chimpanzees subject to their experiments and when one ape goes apeshit (sorry about the pun, but its intended) she gets shot and Rodman soon looks after her son Caesar (Andy Serkis). Caesar then grown signs of intelligence after taking the drug as he becomes older. But as he reaches his adoscelence, Caesar then becomes more violent and becomes valiant of a revolution.
IN a seemingly endless trend of reboots of classic franchises, Rise of the Planet of the Apes seem to work like almost every reboot I've seen (Batman Begins, Star Trek are a few examples). If you haven't seen any of the previous Apes films, then this is a good start. What makes it work is that you'll be hooked into a story of conflict of Man vs Ape. The brutal treatment of Caesar by the humans just tears your heart out and delivers such a huge sense of realism to the concept. The special effects are exceptional with the apes looking just pitch-perfect and the performance from Andy Serkis as Caesar is amazing and I was stunned by how much a person made from CGI would emotionally enhance me. (BTW, Serkis doesn't need an Oscar nomination but not only the best performance I've seen this year, but more so the best motion capture performance I've ever seen.). The prequel is thoroughly entertaining through Rupert Wyatt's direction and the climax where thousands of apes climb onto the Golden Gate Bridge and wreak havoc is a scene I would want to see again in this film this year and to wrap it off, a possible sequel is in the helms.
The only major problem I have with Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the humans. The humans are portrayed as evil (and they are) but they don't have a lot of interesting depth simply because of that and that the film focused too much of the Apes (even though the movie should do that). The only human that tends to be more caring to Caesar is John Lithgow's character who was previously a conservationist and he's actually good here. James Franco, although has a lot of motivation in his character, isn't believable as a scientist because his job is becoming more cliche in movies and that Franco had been playing a vast range of roles involving a stoner, homosexual, a stoner prince and you get the gist. Freida Pinto of Slumdog Millionaire fame plays Will's girlfriend and as gorgeous as I think she is, she seems pointless. Add Tom Felton whose playing way too much Draco in his character and David Oyewlo as Will's money obsessed boss and there's not much to say about them.
But overall as much there is to laugh off another Planet of the Apes movie, this is probably one of the best films I've seen this summer. This isn't over the top like the Tim Burton remake. It's a simple invasion story one that is the oldest in the books. If there was one thing I learnt from and after seeing Rise of the Planet of the Apes it would be that you should never use monkeys in scientific research again or else they'll take over the world. Transformers, take note. This is how an invasion is set out.