I'm old enough to remember the original Planet of the Apes, so the idea of this prequel (note to Bill Gates: add prequel to your spellchecker dictionary) intrigued me.
The movie covers a lot of ground, but very briefly a biotech company in San Francisco is working on a cure to Alzheimer's disease. As the movie starts they are testing it on chimps. The scientists are encouraged to find it makes them significantly smarter. It is a long story why, but one of the smart apes is raised in the home of one of the scientists. One thing leads to another and eventually that chimp gives the drug to other apes and they all revolt.
I'll have to see the movie now. Having it as a drug they take is lame but I guess it might be an allowable plot device so the movie can move along.
How else would you propagate a large population of smart animals quickly enough to have a revolution?
Anyway, sorry to burst your bubble, but this isn't the first prequel. That "honor" goes to Escape From the Planet of the Apes way back in 1971.
you've got me looking this up. "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" seems to be a prequel, "escape" a sequel to that [but also a sequel to "planet of the apes" I think?]