'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' hits theaters Friday, July 11, and it's one of the most anticipated blockbusters this summer. Last week I released my glowing review of the film (you can read it here) and it appears I'm not alone in my positive reaction, as it's currently holding at a stellar 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.
'Dawn' is the eighth film in the 20th Century Fox 'Planet of the Apes' series, one of the longest running sci-fi franchises. And it's lasted so long because of it's unique perspective. At it's best it's served as both spectacle and commentary, serving as societal mirror on issues of race, class, animal rights, nuclear armament, and ecological collapse.
But not all ape films are created equal. Here we rank the series from best to worst, from what is essential viewing, and others that are lower on the evolutionary scale.
SPOILER ALERT: I'll be discussing major plot points in each film.