The plot is terrible, Franco is phoning it in, but can one deny the stunning achievement of these animals, a technological breakthrough that convincingly upgrades the earlier saga? I can only imagine Peter Jackson watching this in complete shock, wondering why he rebooted the wrong ape.
Has some initial emotional pathos and touching drama, but its storytelling becomes bland and unimaginative quickly, and its plot is non-involving, barely even containing a desired coda of popcorn fun n' thrills until the blistering last 1/2 hour. Where the Heston original was a commentary on racial tension during the Civil Rights era, no such depth can be read here, making the first two acts an underwhelming setup.
I am a huge fan of the original Planet of the Apes. In my opinion it is a sci fic masterpiece. However every film that followed it in the franchise simply paled in comparison. None of the sequels could even hold a candle to the original. However that all changed with the release of this film. This film made the Planet of the Apes franchise relevant again and managed to reinvent a classic story for a new generation.
Despite dragging its feet through any parts that involve humans (the David Oyewolo and Tom Felton strands are especially tiresome), Rupert Wyatt's film redeems itself spectacularly with a brilliant last half an hour where James Franco's plank-like acting is thankfully kept out of the way in favour of rampaging apes. The characterisation of Caesar also keeps the film afloat for its first two-thirds. Very enjoyable.