With "War for the Planet of the Apes," we're nine movies deep in a franchise that is just under 50 years old, making it a staple of pop culture for even longer than "Star Wars." And to celebrate its shockingly long lifespan and the release of a new entry, we're going to rank all the "Planet of the Apes" movies.
9. "Planet of the Apes" (2001)
Tim Burton's attempt at a franchise reboot is not really the total disaster we kind of collectively think it is now, but it is two hours of "I'm not sure why this exists." It's a weird reinterpretation of the original with a couple new twists that are there for the sake of having twists -- and neither are satisfying. That ape makeup work is something else, though.
8. "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" (1973)
Every single one of the original "Apes" movies will always hold a special place in my heart, but the ever-decreasing budgets on these movies really took its toll by the time filmmakers got to the fifth one.
7. "Conquest of the Battle of the Apes" (1972)
For those of us who live in Los Angeles, we greatly appreciate "Conquest" for the sequence in which Caesar leads his ape uprising through Century City. On the other hand, they simply did not have the money to make said ape uprising as awesome and epic as we would have wanted.
6. "War for the Planet of the Apes" (2017)
Every individual element of "War" is great, but they never really congeal into a coherent whole, frustratingly. The multiple subtle nods to the originals are a nice touch, though.
5. "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" (1970)
Charlton Heston's reduced role in the first "Apes" sequel leaves it feeling a bit disjointed, but the thing is absolutely hypnotic anyway. It's a marvelously weird experience.
4. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (2011)
There's really no reason to think that this reboot -- which amounts largely to James Franco raising his ape son for two hours -- would be as substantial as it is. And yet every time I watch it I'm shocked by just how excellent it really is.
3. "Planet of the Apes" (1968)
What can I say about the original classic that hasn't already been said? It's the standard by which we judge so many modern things.
2. "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" (1971)
You'd think "Cornelius and Zira hang out with humans in the '70s" would be a jump-the-shark creative choice (and probably many people do hold that opinion), but for my money "Escape" is easily the most delightful entry in the entire franchise.
1. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (2014)
As much as I love the "Apes" franchise, I would never have considered calling any of these movies perfect before I saw "Dawn." That's not to say I think "Dawn" is a perfect movie, but I do consider the possibility with surprising regularity.