A Guide to Watching the Rise of the Planet of the Apes in Order


The “Planet of the Apes” franchise has captivated audiences for decades, exploring themes of intelligence, dominance, and the fragile balance between humanity and nature. But with multiple films spanning different timelines, it can be confusing to know where to begin.

This guide delves into the “Rise” trilogy, the recent reboot series that chronicles the rise of apes to power, providing the perfect order to experience this gripping saga.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011): Genesis of an Ape Revolution

Our journey starts in San Francisco, where scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) is testing a powerful Alzheimer’s drug on chimpanzees. One chimp, Caesar (Andy Serkis through groundbreaking motion-capture), exhibits remarkable intelligence after being exposed to the drug. However, a tragic incident leads to Caesar’s separation from his mother and a forced relocation to a primate sanctuary.

Caesar’s intelligence and leadership qualities flourish at the sanctuary. He uses the drug to enhance the cognitive abilities of other chimps, and resentment builds towards their mistreatment by humans. When Caesar orchestrates a daring escape, a chain of events unfolds, culminating in a confrontation that sparks the ape revolution.

Key Points:

  • Introduces Caesar, the intelligent chimp who becomes the leader of the ape rebellion.
  • Explores the ethical implications of scientific experimentation.
  • Sets the stage for a conflict between humans and apes for dominance.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014): A Divided World

Ten years after the events of “Rise,” a devastating simian flu has decimated the human population. Caesar leads a growing ape civilization in the Muir Woods, while a band of human survivors struggles to rebuild in San Francisco. A fragile peace hangs in the balance when Caesar encounters Malcolm (Jason Clarke), a human who advocates for peaceful coexistence.

However, mistrust and violence erupt on both sides, orchestrated by a radical human leader, Dreyfus (Gary Oldman). Caesar grapples with the weight of leadership and the desire for peace, while Malcolm fights to prevent an all-out war. The film culminates in a battle that determines the fate of both species.

Key Points:

  • Showcases the evolution of ape society and their growing intelligence.
  • Explores the themes of prejudice and the cyclical nature of violence.
  • Introduces Caesar’s son, Blue Eyes, who will play a pivotal role in the future.

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017): A Fight for Survival

Years after the war in “Dawn,” Caesar leads his apes in a desperate struggle for survival. A ruthless Colonel McCullough (Woody Harrelson) leads a human military unit on a relentless hunt to eradicate the apes. Caesar, haunted by his past actions, embarks on a quest for vengeance, jeopardizing the safety of his people.

The film explores the psychological toll of war and the consequences of vengeance. Caesar wrestles with his inner demons, while a young ape named Nova emerges as a voice of reason. The story culminates in a heart-wrenching climax that defines the future of both species and leaves a lasting impact.

Key Points:

  • Delves into the psychological impact of war on Caesar and his tribe.
  • Introduces Nova, a young ape who represents hope for the future.
  • Provides a definitive conclusion to the “Rise” trilogy, leaving room for further exploration in the franchise.

Beyond the Rise Trilogy:

While the “Rise” trilogy offers a complete story arc, the “Planet of the Apes” franchise extends further. The original 1968 film, starring Charlton Heston, depicts a future where apes have already become the dominant species. This film, along with sequels released in the 1970s, follows a different storyline and timeline. A 2001 remake of the original film exists as well.

What to Watch Next?

If you’ve enjoyed the “Rise” trilogy, you might be curious to explore the broader “Planet of the Apes” universe. Here are some options:

  • Watch the original 1968 film “Planet of the Apes” to experience the classic take on the future world dominated by apes.
  • Explore the sequels to the original film, such as “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” and “Escape from the Planet of the Apes,” which delve further into lore and mythology.
  • The 2001 remake of “Planet of the Apes” offers a different take on the original story.

A Legacy of Social Commentary

The “Planet of the Apes” franchise transcends sci-fi action, posing thought-provoking questions about humanity, intelligence, and the consequences of our actions. 


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Jyoti Kumari

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