This year, the Planet of the Apes franchise is celebrating its 49th year in existence with its ninth theatrical release: Matt Reeves' War For The Planet Of The Apes. It's already being hailed as one of the best films of the summer (if not the year), and is looking at big box office numbers. But it still begs the question: where does it rank among the other movies in this beloved sci-fi universe? Thankfully, we're here to provide the answer.
Below and on the next few pages you'll find our complete rankings of the Planet of the Apes movies -- and we're willing to bet that it stirs up a good bit of conversation. Click through the pages, read why we put each title in its designated place, and then hit the comments section below with your personal rankings of this beloved franchise!
9. Battle For The Planet Of The Apes
As we'll discuss throughout this list, the vast majority of the Planet of the Apes movies are really great -- but there's are reasons we say "the vast majority" instead of "all." One of those reasons is J. Lee Thompson's Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, which is a really disappointing movie. While it should be great to see a world in its earliest post-human stages, the reality is that it's a mostly boring film that feels like it was made just to help perpetuate the franchise.
While the best of the Planet of the Apes movies feel like they really have something to say about society and humanity, Battle For The Planet Of The Apes is a mostly empty vessel that lacks the intelligence and emotionality of its predecessors. Perhaps the worst part about it, though, is that its ending is entirely lame, and audiences had to live with it for 28 years -- which is to say right up until the arrival of the second worst Planet of the Apes movie...
8. Tim Burton's Planet Of The Apes
Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes is definitely not a good movie. It's script is ridiculous and all over the place, both Mark Wahlberg and Estella Warren are totally miscast, and it quite simply pales in comparison to the brilliant original, which is ultimately the worst thing that a remake can do. It features none of the creativity of the sequels that preceded it, and thanks to the titles that followed, it really has next to no place or real legacy within the larger franchise.
There is a very specific reason why we didn't rank it last on this list, however, and it's because of the jaw-dropping special effects and make-up. Rick Baker was responsible for an incredible number of genius designs during his career, and 2001's Planet of the Apes features some of his greatest work. Made long before digital effects technology could do what it's doing now, the movie's transformations of Tim Roth, Michael Clarke-Duncan, Paul Giamatti, Helena Bonham Carter and more are stunning, and it's actually shocking that it didn't even wind up getting an Academy Award nomination let alone the prize. At the very least, we'll always remember the film for that.