Okay, so this film is a few years old now, but seeing as I've only just watched it - Having kids has certainly taken my finger of the pop culture pulse - I wanted to offer my thoughts.
Rise is clearly the start of a new run of Apes films. With Dawn having just gone through the cinemas, I felt it was time to watch it.
As the title suggests, Rise is the Apes book of Genesis.
In Rise, we get to know the first Ape - Caesar. Used in experiments to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease, Caesar develops way beyond the expected intellect of a normal ape. This is handled well in the film, always highlighting the potential problems for messing with nature and science.
When Caesar's death is ordered due to an experiment going wrong, Will Rodman (played by James Franco), takes him home to live with him.
The inevitable happens and Caesar becomes a threat to society. This is when he's transferred to a sanctuary. Up until this point, I was invested in the story, cared for Caesar's plight and really wanted to see him make it through. But it was at the sanctuary where the film lost me.
While in the sanctuary, Caesar finds himself in the care of a worker who hates apes. The thing is, the worker doesn't seem to have any motivation for hating the apes other than his own inherent cruelty. While this sets up the tension required for the conflict that sees Caesar eventually pop, it makes the sanctuary worker hideously one-dimensional and unbelievable. It was like they'd drafted in a Scooby Doo villain to push the story forwards because they didn't know how else to create conflict.
As the title suggests, the ensuing drama leads to the rise of the planet of the apes.
Were it not for the weak middle this would have been a great film. I'll definitely watch Dawn and hope Draco Malfoy is nowhere to be seen. The annoying thing is, he would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those pesky apes.
Rating - 6.5 out of 10.