James Franco and Frida Pinto in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Franco has dropped out of a Broadway production of Tennessee Williams play Sweet Bird of Youth Image Credit: Supplied picture

Who's in it? James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis, Brian Cox

The plot This prequel follows Will Rodman (Franco), a scientist working on a chemical compound designed to cure Alzheimer's Disease, which affects his father, Charles (Lithgow).

Through his work with a chimpanzee named Bright Eyes, Rodman discovers his compound not only rebuilds damaged brain tissue, but significantly increases intelligence as a by-product.

But when the plug is pulled on his study following a lab accident, Rodman is forced to put down all of his primate test subjects and left to raise a young chimp named Caesar, who has genetically inherited super-intelligence from his mother, Bright Eyes, and as Caesar grows up, it becomes difficult for the chimp to make sense of his role in a human world.

What we liked This movie delivers one of the most lifelike CGI characters ever in Caesar. Full of suspense, Rise is a must for anyone left disappointed by the ill-fated 2001 Planet of the Apes remake, starring Mark Wahlberg, as it's a comprehensive prequel, laying the groundwork for the classic version. James Franco shines as friend-of-the-apes Will, with the gorgeous Freida Pinto gamely striding into action territory for the very first time as veterinarian Caroline Aranha, who supports Will's work. Also keep an eye out for Harry Potter's Draco, Tom Felton, as a suitable dastardly animal control officer, who unwittingly sets the ape takeover in motion.

What we didn’t like Ideally, we’d have liked more Pinto.
Rating 4/5