It was a chancy proposition for 20th Century Fox to tackle the "Planet of the Apes" franchise once more following Tim Burton's dismal 2001 remake, but the gamble paid off. In addition to taking the story in a different direction that pinpointed the events leading to a fateful simian uprising, 2011's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" captured many viewers' imaginations through the resilient motion-capture effects which brought its primates to startling life. As solid as the film was as a cautionary adventure, one stemming from the precarious testing trials of a new drug intending to regenerate brain cells, what anchored director Rupert Wyatt's breakout hit was the complicated relationship between hyper-intelligent ape Caesar (Andy Serkis) and the caring scientist (James Franco) who welcomed him into his family. In Matt Reeves' (2010's "Let Me In") technically stirring follow-up, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," Franco is out and the main attractions are most definitely the title animals. With an uninspired new group of human characters to contend with, however, half of the film becomes a dreary, lopsided slog. Returning screenwriters Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and new series scribe Mark Bomback (2013's "The Wolverine") seem to have no idea what to do with them, and the finished product suffers because of it.
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