Rise of the Planet of the Apes

August 5, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

At last, a potential worthy successor to Limitless. Rise of the Planet of the Apes, opening Friday August 5, is a prequel to Planet of the Apes — a reality-based cautionary tale and science fiction/science fact blend. Genetic engineering experiments lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

Caesar is rendered in CGI as an infant and played as an adult by motion-captured Andy Serkis (Gollum in Lord of the Rings). (Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

This addition to the series takes place in the present day, where a young San Francisco scientist, Will (James Franco), is developing a gene therapy intended to boost brain function, explains Slate‘s Dana Stevens. “Will is extra-motivated to hurry the process along, given that his father (John Lithgow) is in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Will raises a baby ape, Caesar, who is soon fluent in sign language and capable of beating Will at chess…. Caesar manages to put his fellow ape inmates on the fast track to evolution and to bust the whole havoc-wreaking lot of them out of the slammer.”

Slate is also running a summary (“Think Faster“) of cognitive enhancers, including pharmaceutical cognitive enhancers, a noninvasive form of deep brain stimulation using ultrasound, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and brain-computer interfaces.