As the title suggests, this is the much-anticipated prequel to the science fiction classic Planet of the Apes.
It stars James Franco as the scientist with questionable ethics, Freida Pinto as the girlfriend of the scientist with questionable ethics, and John Lithgow as father of the scientist with questionable ethics.
Franco's character works at a San Francisco laboratory called Gen Sys trying to find a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Adding urgency to his research is the fact that Franco’s father is slowly losing his mind to the condition.
Unfortunately for Franco, ethical approval for the promising new drug he’s developed becomes problematic when a chimpanzee he’s tested it on runs amok during a board meeting considering its safety.
Ordered to shutdown his project, Franco instead smuggles the drug and a test chimp called Caesar out of the lab and disappears off the grid. Fast forward a couple of months and Caesar steals some of the experimental drug to turn other captured primates into super-intelligent brainiacs.
After making their escape, the marauding monkeys go on a PETA-esque rampage through the lab, and head for the Golden Gate bridge.
The film’s villain (David Oyelowo) secures a helicopter and heads to the bridge to kill Caesar. After machine-gunning down a few apes, it looks like Oyelowo is about to succeed. But as he moves in for the kill, an enormous gorilla hurls himself at the helicopter – which is now flying at a foolishly low altitude.
The chopper loses control before spinning into the bridge, resulting in a partial explosion with several pieces of helicopter strewn on the road. Another ape kicks the charred remains of the helicopter off the bridge and into San Francisco Bay.
The explosion was not huge, but this is perhaps reflective of the small altitude/speed to ground atio. The bridge would almost certainly need repainting in the area around the explosion though.
Exploding helicopter innovation
First helicopter explosion caused by a motion-captured super-intelligent gorilla.
Do the passengers survive?
Oyelowo is certainly still alive and potentially could be saved. His hopes of survival (and those of the remaining passengers) are quickly dashed by one of Oyelowo's apes from the lab, who carefully considers the situation before kicking the helicopter to its watery doom.
Gorilla vs helicopter is a match-up film-goers have been crying out for.
When Sarah Palin shoots wolves from a helicopter in Alaska, it's unlikely that even she is stupid enough to shoot from an altitude that a vengeful wolf could jump up to. The same cannot be said of Oyelowo and his pilot.
Favourite quote not in the film
Helicopter pilot: “Get your stinking paws off my helicopter, you damned dirty ape”
At the time of the apes' escape, news coverage is focusing on the launch of a manned flight to Mars. As the film is supposed to be set in the present day, this appears to have been set in an alternate universe where NASA has not recently had its funding cut.
Review by: Joseph Clift