Superior computer animation distinguishes this prequel, the first film in a planned reboot of the popular sci-fi series: the apes convey such a range of emotion that it's easy to overlook the fact that they're digitally generated. If only the human characters were so detailed. To showcase the special effects, the filmmakers reportedly trimmed many of the dialogue-based scenes, thereby dulling the dramatic impact of a strong genre premise: a good-natured scientist (James Franco, miscast but still game) tries to cure Alzheimer's disease but ends up creating superintelligent primates in the process. The first half (presumably where most of the narrative scenes were excised) is frustratingly arrhythmic; more satisfying is the ape revolution of the final half-hour, a scary and deftly handled passage. Rupert Wyatt directed; with Brian Cox, John Lithgow, and Andy Serkis.
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