If you're an "Apes" fan like me, then you'll want to catch this one. Just be sure to watch "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" first so you know how it all started. The movie starts off covering very briefly what's happened over the last 10 years since the first movie ended, then brings you to Caesar and his apes (which we knew from interviews with the director and cast). But it isn't long before things start going down and while the conclusion is predictable for those who know the original five movie story arc, you can't help but hold out hope that maybe, just maybe, a resolution towards peace can be achieved between humans and apes. There are no true villains here, just individuals on two sides doing what they truly believe to be right. But ultimately, just as with any good story of survival and hope for peace, a single heart wrenching betrayal is all it takes to bring it all crashing down on everyone involved. Of course, some old friends from the first movie return, while others are presumed dead at some point in the intervening years.
The CGI on the apes is stellar; you really begin to believe those are actually apes, not humans in mocap suits with computer created skins overlaid upon them. There are moments the horses don't quite look right, however, especially in the face. Outside of that slight hickup, it's all so beautifully filmed and the acting is truly top shelf. Knowing the apes were CG did nothing to detract from the believability of this. In fact, knowing that made the appearance of the apes just that much more extraordinarily believable, right down to the musculature and fur. On top of it, the actors themselves do a beautiful job portraying the apes as apes rather than humans in ape suits, which greatly adds to the believability.
I personally found myself rooting for the apes, and among them, certain ones in particular. You'll see what I mean when you watch it. My one issue is that it almost seems too short, as if there's something missing from the narrative that I can't quite put my finger on (besides wondering what happened to Caesar's foster father). Let's hope some extra footage makes it back in for the DVD release.
Either way, I would definitely recommend this movie for anyone who loves the Apes movies, and even with the violence at certain points, I would take my 13 year old son to see it. The violence is not especially gory, and in fact there's not a lot of blood despite apparent injuries and deaths. I would consider that a plus, given the fact that too many movies use fight scenes as an excuse for excessive amounts of gratuitous blood and gore. Over all, I would certainly put this one on the list to add to my DVD collection when it gets released.