All roads lead to Rome? We'll always have Paris? Don't count on it. While the Rome/Paris axis was a global hub of cultural influence in 1000 AD, this locus shifted by the end of the 2nd Millenium. Consider the output of the Seattle/Los Angeles axis: mass-market films and music from LA, Google search engine and Apple personal computers from Silicon Valley, Levi's denim wear from San Francisco, Nike athletic wear and Columbia eco-gear from Portland, Microsoft operating systems and Starbucks' coffee-to-go from Seattle.
Has your lifestyle been affected by these products or their progeny? I thought so. (Those of you boycotting American culture, be sure to maintain moral purity by avoiding all such goods. Here, we only bash America when morality requires it, not when jealousy or fashion encourages it.) Thus, until the world axis shifts to Beijing/New Delhi, it's appropriate that a movie on the nature and destiny of mankind be set on the nature-and-technology-loving Pacific Coast.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is firstly about the issue of why some creatures are dominant. There is the capacity for fight or flight. In this, a naked ape vastly excels a naked human. There is the capacity for bonding and organization. In this, apes are much more comparable to people than often assumed. Then, there is the capacity for reasoning and language. Here, the ape kinda sucks. Yet, what if we gave our furry friends a chemical boost where they need it most? Tampering with this delicate balance of power is how this bold action film gets most of its action.
A second issue is what moral obligation the power-struggle-winner has to earth's second-most-capable species. That's where this moving drama film gets most of its drama. Are we to adopt the position associated with Western Society that animals exist for the benefit of humanity to be treated as seen fit? Obviously not. I don't know anyone who would let their children drown kittens for fun and wouldn't want to meet such a warped person. Are we to adopt the position associated with Eastern Society that animal life is too sacred to ever be compromised? Noone consistently practices this. Millions of Indian citizens won't eat a chicken breast to build muscle mass but do slay billions of insects plus a few cows daily to cross town faster on motorcycles.
Thus, how much physical and emotional suffering we have the right to cause animals for how worthy a cause is an ethical question that people must ask and answer constantly. Perhaps, heartless scientists and brainless activists should make love not war. Perhaps, they should be crossbred in a laboratory to produce more-balanced offspring. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a hell of an entertaining intro to a complex but crucial topic. Ponder it, debate it, or just enjoy it, but do see it.
Disclaimer: no animals were harmed in the posting of this review and any intimate relations that may or may not have occurred between the author and livestock from the zoology department at his university were purely consensual and for research purposes only.