Some film rankings are easier than others. But like a lot of things in the Planet of the Apes franchise, ranking the films is rather complicated. Why? Because we're dealing with two separate series of films. One began nearly 50 years ago, and launched Hollywood's first true multiplatform franchise; the other is a reimagining that began in 2011 and has been a template for how to reboot the right way.
Oh, wait, there's also that tragic mistake by Tim Burton in 2001 that was bad on so many levels. Still, a funny thing happened on the way to rewatching these movies for the purposes of these rankings: through refreshed eyes, new elements rose to the surface. And I developed a new appreciation for some of the storytelling elements that were introduced when the series took a grungier, lower-budget turn after Beneath The Planet of the Apes.
Seriously, the world-building in the first five Apes movies is incredibly impressive, especially when you consider the era it was happening in -- when franchises essentially didn't exist -- and also the incredible budget limitations placed on the filmmakers. Somehow, producer Arthur P. Jacobs and screenwriter Paul Dehn managed to overcome all of that to create some compelling stories. As you'll see in the video below, Dehn in particular, deserves major credit for creating the time-bending narrative that expanded the Apes universe in unexpected ways.
The modern take on the Apes story began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which only makes these rankings that much tougher. Along with the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the reboot has raised the bar not just for Apes films, but for dystopian sci-fi in general. The newest edition, War for the Planet of the Apes, isn't included in these rankings because it doesn't officially come out until this weekend, and we didn't want to be the jerks who put fresh spoilers in a listicle.
So here's how we rank all of the currently released Planet of the Apes movies, from worst to first. Agree, disagree? No problem. Just hit the comments and let us know why. Or track me down on social media so we can argue about it there.