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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Ape Shall Not Kill Franchise Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Wrong title, right movie. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The movie is zippier than Tim Burton's oddly lifeless 2001 "Planet of the Apes" remake, but unlike good sci-fi, it doesn't signify anything, or really even try to.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The cautionary tale feels surprisingly fresh and entertaining, given that this is the fifth "Planet of the Apes" film since the 1968 original.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Strong action, special effects and by far the most credible ape "performances" yet seen will spell box office to inspire chest-thumping in all markets.

    Read Full Review

  • 90

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Judged, though, as the action extravaganza it means to be, Rise of the Planet of the Apes wins high marks for originality, and takes top honors for spectacle.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Rise of the Planet of the Apes reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Occasionally violent origin story is surprisingly good.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this origin story is less sci-fi and more relationship drama, making it a surprisingly equal-opportunity choice for teens and parents. There's not much language, sexuality, or drinking, but the animal-human violence gets intense in the second half of the movie. Humans are afraid of the apes, so they shoot and poke them, and the threatened apes react defensively by smashing cars, throwing spears, pushing police officers off a bridge, and generally wreaking havoc on the Bay Area. There are a few pivotal death scenes for both species, but the movie's focus is less on the action and more on the nuanced question of how animals and humans can co-exist once there's no intelligence barrier.

  • Families can talk about the ongoing popularity of remaking classic older films. What are some series that have outdone their predecessors? Which originals should never have been reimagined?
  • How does the violence in this movie compare to other action/sci-fi movies you've seen? Does the fact that it involves animals give it more or less impact?
  • Animals are usually depicted as our friends, but what do the apes want -- to rule the world, or just to be free from cages? How does the filmmaker portray Caesar and Will's relationship? Is Caesar a pet, a child, or something in between?
  • For those familiar with the Planet of the Apes series, how does this compare to the original storyline? Do the changes make sense, considering technological developments since the '70s? Do you think there should be more?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: There are some thought-provoking messages in the movie, especially the idea about whether it's questionable to test animals with drugs that could injure them if it's for the benefit of curing human diseases. Animal equality is brought up via both the character of Caesar, who's of superior intelligence to his human age-counterparts, and the misery of the apes held imprisoned in the animal shelter. Will's decisions to keep Caesar, give his father the experimental drug, and bribe an official show the moral ambiguity of doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. The tension between the pharmaceutical industry's drive for profits versus the good of helping the sick is another major theme.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Despite keeping Caesar and giving his father drug-trial medicine illegally, Will is a hardworking visionary who wants to help cure diseases at work and comes home to take care of his ill father. He's not perfect, but he's disciplined, kind, and intelligent. Caesar himself is more "human" than some of the human characters. He's thoughtful, generous, and thinks everything through strategically. He only uses violence when threatened, as opposed to for sport.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: In the opening scene, ape poachers are shown trapping apes in nets and chasing them with machetes and guns; shortly after that, a lab ape gets very aggressive with the scientists and is eventually shot and killed. The ape-versus-human violence is usually in retaliation for human-on-ape violence, and it includes apes grabbing and nearly breaking someone's hand, Caesar biting the hand of a neighbor who's pushing his owner, and apes fighting off police officers who surround and shoot them from a helicopter and the ground. The goriest scenes are of a man who's electrocuted (he's hosed down as he turns an electric stunning device on), a police officer who's thrown off a bridge by a gorilla, and a man plummeting into the water from a falling helicopter. An ape also dies protecting his leader. An elderly man succumbs to illness in his sleep, while a contaminated human dies from a strange virus.

  • sex false1

    Sex: A couple of sweet kisses and some flirting between Will and Caroline. They live together (it's not clear whether they're married), and they're shown in bed, but only sleeping.

  • language false2

    Language: Language includes one use of "s--t," plus infrequent use of "hell," "ass," "goddamn," and "damn" (as in the famous line: "Get your damn paws off me, you damned dirty ape").

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: The only brand prominently featured is an Apple MacBook/desktop computer.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A primate shelter worker and his friend are shown with drinks in their hands.