While looking for a cue for Alzheimer's Disease, Will Rodman (James Franco) tests his drug on apes in preparation for human trials. After finding his drug enhances the apes' intelligence he prepares to present his finding to secure the funding for human trials - until the intelligent ape escapes, causing havoc.
Any further experiments are off the cards and all of the apes are put down. It is later discovered that the intelligent ape was merely protecting a secret baby which Will decides to adopt.
The young ape, later named Caesar (Andy Serkis), grows up in the care of Will who finds that it displays an abnormally high intelligence rate, but things start to become complicated when Caesar's over-protective nature tears him apart from Will when he is impounded.
I have a small confession - at the time of writing this review I haven't seen the original Planet of the Apes films... but that's not necessarily a bad thing as this film is not a prequel to the originals, but rather a reboot to the series. There are plenty of small clues dropped into the storyline to suggest that this could be another huge selling franchise and Andy Serkis has confirmed he is already signed up for a sequel.
Still, most of us have heard the main skeleton for the Planet of the Apes story - a manned mission stumbles across a planet inhabited by apes only to find out in a memorable scene that it is a post-apocalyptic planet Earth - and it is thoroughly entertaining to see how director Rupert Wyatt links this version into the main franchise storyline through subtle news stories.
The cinematography and effects are truly inspiring. It is truly bizarre to say that an animated chimp based entirely on the movements and voice of Andy Serkis is the star of the show, blurring the line between the animation and the real man. James Franco keeps the film ticking along nicely while Tom Felton slips easily back into his Harry Potter-esque cruelty role as he torments the apes.
I'm looking forward to the sequel though I hope it doesn't undo all the hard work this film has gone through to breath life into evolving the franchise.