Thursday, August 4, 2011

Monkey shines: ‘Apes’ reboot rises above pack

Paging Dr. Franco-stein. In "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," the ubiquitous James Franco is Dr. Will Rodman, ambitious San Francisco research scientist. A newly-minted knockoff of Mary Shelley's mad scientist, Will is searching for a cure for Alzheimer's, even if it means offending Mother Nature.

It turns out this new "Apes" entry is a lot better than Tim Burton's 2001 remake and a more-than-serviceable prequel to the series that began with the 1968 science-fiction classic "Planet of the Apes."

The new film, directed by Englishman Rupert Wyatt ("The Escapist") and written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver of the 1997 B-movie "The Relic," has some aces up its furry sleeve, most of all an eerie, motion-capture performance by Andy Serkis (the screen's immortal Gollum) as Caesar, this film's rebel ape leader.

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