I had no hope that this movie would work, until I saw the reviews, which were unexpectedly very positive. Like X-Men: First Class, Rise of the Planet of the Apes (ROTPOTA) is a 'prequel' to the 40-plus-year-old Planet of the Apes. Not a familiar movie to these parts of the world, but familiar with most Americans and considered a science fiction milestone by some. A prequel of a decades-old movie that lacks familiarity, ROTPOTA was destined to fail. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise to find a rousing (no pun intended), heartwarming tale of a genetically intelligent simian who would eventually become the catalyst to the events in the original movie. It's a simple story that relies a lot on performance and direction, and here all of it worked amazingly, even the ape CG. A little bit of Lassie, King Kong 2005, 28 Days Later, and The Great Escape (or Prison Break for you young fellas), the best big movie of 2011 so far. Really!