[With Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opening on Friday, July 11th, I'm taking a look back at the Planet of the Apes movie franchise. These reviews contain spoilers.]
Battle for the Planet of the Apes chose to end the original 5-film saga on a message of hope, and then the franchise lay dormant for almost thirty years. Interest had waned, fans had grown up, and that’s usually the signal for a studio to dig back into the archive to try and reinvent a property—no matter how classic or untouchable—for modern audiences, i.e. male teenagers with disposable income. Planet of the Apes had endured to where the mainstream was aware of the original insofar as the twist, the final shot, and “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”
But after watching the first five movies, I think the franchise’s most admirable trait is its tonal flexibility in service of various themes. These movies were radically different, but they each had a distinct personality. Tim Burton‘s 2001 remake “re-invented” the franchise by removing any personality whatsoever.