On Friday, a ‘Planet of the Apes’ movie will be available at a theater near you. It’s the seventh one, actually, so perhaps you’re excited already? Then again, the last one probably came out before you were born. That is, unless you count the one starring Mark Wahlberg that was released in 2001, but, alas, you don’t count that one because it was awful. This one stars James Franco! You like him! Well, unless you watched the last Oscars telecast, then you may not like him anymore. Regardless, as a service to you, we answer every possible question that you may have about ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes.’
Q: ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is awful, right?
A: Surprisingly, it’s not awful. In fact, it’s quite good.
Q: Wait, I see what’s going on here: Now that you’re at AOL, this means you’re holding back and you can’t use words like “bullsh*t” or “a**hole” to describe a movie that you don’t like?**
A: Look, I regret to inform you that if it’s words like “bullsh*t” or “a**hole” that you’re looking for, you’re not going to find either of those words anywhere in this piece. This is family site.
Q: Are you making me think that I’m on another planet in which all ‘Planet of the Apes’ movies are actually good – then I’ll discover that I’ve been on Earth all along but Fox is in charge and, by law, this movie must be declared good?
A: A) I think we may already live on that planet, and B) law or not, ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is up there with ‘X-Men: First Class’ as the best movie of the summer.
Q: ‘X-Men: First Class’? That’s another Fox film. Wait, have you fallen victim to this whole hacking kerfuffle?
A: To the best of my knowledge, I have not been hacked by News Corp. So that has absolutely nothing to do with my adulation toward ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes.’
‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ Trailer:
Q: Does James Franco play a lovable stoner in ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’?
A: There is no evidence of any illegal drug use by Franco’s character, but I’m just going to assume “yes.” Franco plays Will, a scientist who is running experiments on apes in an effort to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Q: Is there an ape that has Alzheimer’s disease?
A: No. Actually, Will’s live-in father (the always great John Lithgow) is stricken with the disease, so Will has even more motivation to find a cure. What Will is attempting to do in ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is so important, it could honestly change the course of humankind forever.
Q: If you’re going got be blurbed in this weekend’s commercials for ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes,’ what quote do you think will be used?
A: “‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is so important, it could honestly change the course of humankind forever!” Mike Ryan,
Q: How does Will’s treatment work?
A: Will develops a virus (yeah, you can probably see where this is eventually going) called the 112 that, hypothetically, attacks the disease in humans. But! In apes, it increases their intelligence levels through neurogenesis.
Q: Does ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ take place before or after Peter Gabriel left Neurogenesis?
A: You’re thinking of the English rock group, Genesis. But, for the record, ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ does take place after Peter Gabriel left the band.
Q: When do the apes start rising in ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’?
A: One of the apes, named Bright Eyes, gets a little too overprotective of her newborn and causes quite a ruckus.
Q: Is Bright Eyes’ real name Conor Oberst?
A: Well, technically, yes – but not the ape version. Unfortunately, Bright Eyes’ behavior is blamed on the virus, not her motherly instincts. Will is told to start his program over from scratch and all of the apes are destroyed — except for one.
Q: Which ape is not destroyed?
A: Will adopts Bright Eyes’ son and raises the ape at home. He names the ape Caesar. Will builds a room in his attic for Caesar to live and train athletically.
Q: And that’s how Caesar learned to play baseball?
A: ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ is in no way related to the Matt Leblanc comedy, ‘Ed.’
Q: How does Caesar fit in, living domestically, with Will and his father?
A: Fairly well, at first. The film then, kind of inexplicably, jumps three years ahead and shows that the extremely intelligent Caesar is getting a little more inquisitive and rambunctious in his older age. An unapproved excursion into the neighbor’s back yard leads to an injury that Caesar has to have treated by a zoo veterinarian named Caroline (Freida Pinto). Soon, Will and Caroline start dating.
Q: How is Will’s father doing at this point?
A: Will has illegally started testing the 112 virus on his father. Not only does it cure his father’s Alzheimer’s, it also increases his father’s cognitive ability to levels that they have never been at before. Then, again, even more inexplicably, the film jumps ahead: this time five years.
Q: Five years? Should I assume that Will and Caroline are married by this point?
A: No. But they are enjoying a picnic in the Redwood Forest with Caesar.
Q: So ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ spans eight years? Does James Franco look any different at the beginning of the movie than he does at the end?
A: James Franco’s Will ages very well over the course of the film and, also, seems quite fond of the hairstyle that he keeps the whole time.
Q: What’s the most unrealistic thing about ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’?
A: That, after five years of dating, not only has Will and Caroline’s relationship not progressed, not only do they still look exactly the same — but they still somehow enjoy going on picnics together. I call bullsh*t. (Yes, I lied)
Q: Is there any relation between ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ and the other ‘Planet of the Apes’ movies?
A: ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ has nothing to do with Tim Burton’s awful 2001 film. Though, ‘Rise’ is very loosely associated with the original Charlton Heston film. Sort of.
Q: When do the apes start taking over the planet?
A: Unfortunately, Will’s father’s symptoms return, which results in a misunderstanding with the neighbor that becomes physical. Caesar, watching this altercation, intervenes. This results in a missing body part.
Q: Is this the scene in which Caesar chews off James Franco’s right arm?
A: No, you’re thinking of ’127 Hours’ and replacing “dull knife” with “ape teeth.” Caesar actually bites off a finger of the irate neighbor. After, kind of understandably, Caesar isn’t allowed to live with Will any longer. Caesar isn’t happy about this and recruits some smart friends to follow him.
Q: Who gives the best performance in ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’?
A: Andy Serkis as Caesar.
Andy Serkis offers an in-depth look at Caesar.
Q: Why is ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ so good?
A: Because it’s unlike any of the other summer movies so far this year. Instead of The Good Guy who must confront The Bad Guy, we’re given a wide spectrum of sympathetic characters. The apes aren’t evil. Will isn’t evil. Even Will’s boss who is only interested in the research for monetary value isn’t necessarily evil. (OK, Tom Felton’s character is a d*ck). The film takes its time to build the characters so that at the end, when all hell breaks loose, we care what happens.
Q: Does a character utter the line “Get your hands off of me, you damn dirty ape”?
Q: Does James Franco consider his performance in ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ performance art?
** For new readers, say hello to ’25 Questions,’ an all-new feature that isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions about the week’s biggest movies. And for you long-term fans that have been following the series, get comfortable and enjoy its new home at Moviefone. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.