Scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) is developing a drug to treat Alzheimer's disease, an ailment his father, Charles (John Lithgow), suffers from.
Some of the apes he's testing the drug on begin to display aggressive behaviour and the project is scrapped. Will saves Caesar, a baby chimp with human-like intelligence, from being put down and takes him home.
Yet the super-smart chimp starts to feel like an outsider among the humans and when one chimp too many suffers at the hands of humans, Caesar leads an uprising of apes.
Caesar's progression from a young innocent to a violent, full-grown beast is the filmmakers' way of appealing to the audience's emotions. One of the most poignant, heart-wrenching moments is when Will leaves Caesar at an animal sanctuary, where he suffers abuse from a power-mad carer (played by Tom "Draco Malfoy" Felton).
Lithgow plays Will's delusional father excellently, portraying an Alzheimer's sufferer convincingly.
The movie's ending leaves much to be desired. Too much is left to the imagination, and loose threads are not tied up satisfactorily. No doubt this is a hugely unsubtle reminder that there is a sequel to come.