Is it related to the previous Planet of the Apes films? Not directly. It doesn’t really sit in the same timeline as the original 60s/70s films. It’s definitely unrelated to the abysmal Tim Burton version of recent years. By the way, Tim Burton is incredibly overrated, isn’t he? Just needed to say that. You certainly don’t have to have seen any of the previous Apes films to enjoy this one.
Is it suitable for kids? I think it’s a 12A so it’s maybe a bit strong for very young ones but there’s no extreme violence, no swearing, no sex and no nudity (not even a bright red ape arse!!)
How does it compare to other recent so called blockbuster movies? Vastly superior. It is far better written, directed (Rupert Wyatt), scored and acted than any of this summer’s big releases. It makes Transformers 4 and X-Men First Class look like pathetic, bodged, plotless video games. The only other film that has come close to this one is Super 8.
Are the actors any good? Not bad. There’s not that much for them to do as the focus is on Caesar the chimpanzee. James Franco is pretty good as the main human character although there’s not that much character to play (Franco is much better used in 127 Hours), Freda Pinto has even less to do with only one interesting moment that I can think of (acting as a decoy in the bridge scene), John Lithgow gets the best deal as the Alzheimer suffering father, Brian Cox has clearly emailed his mildly sinister performance in, leaving Tom Felton and David Oyelowo to do ridiculous pantomime villain acts. Basically it’s all OK but you’re not there for that anyway.
Is the CGI really that good? It’s some of the best and most natural I’ve seen. I still don’t like CGI though. You can always, ALWAYS tell it’s CGI. Here, it’s OK because the film is strong enough to distract you from constantly thinking ‘mmm that’s CGI’.
What’s the best bit? The finale is really breathtaking and all the more effective because the film has a proper narrative structure and isn’t just one big battle scene. You care about the characters by that point, especially the apes. Also, must mention the music by Patrick Doyle; it’s completely brilliant.
What’s the worst bit? The bit where Caesar asks the girl out to dinner with James Franco; Vomit City!! Also, the stock businessman baddie character; lazy, lazy…
Does it make any moral/ethical points? I suppose it’s saying experimenting on animals is pretty rubbish but it doesn’t ram that down your throat. It’s arguing for strict control of testing I suppose. It’s really just an entertainment though.
Is there going to be a sequel? I’d say unquestionably, yes. Make sure you don’t leave the cinema straight away when the titles come up as there’s an extra sequence which will convince you even further that a follow-up is on the cards although maybe not with any of the original human cast.