Just plain fun. That's the best way to describe this perfect summer movie. Rise of the Planet of the Apes has action, really good characterization and the best performance of the year.
That's right, I'll say it - Caesar the Ape (Andy Serkis and a lot of CGI) gives the best performance of the year. It is heartbreaking, empowering and flat out exciting. The rest of the apes as well. It's amazing that most of the human characters blend together - but the apes are all so unique. James Franco does a good job as well, but it is Caesar's movie. Brian Cox is good, the kid who plays Draco Malfoy in the Potter movies plays a weirdly over the top villain (but it works for the movie). Freida Pinto looks amazing, but her presence is rather pointless.
You wind up wildly rooting for the apes - and this turns into an all out brawl on the streets of San Francisco. And it is a lot of fun. Just watching the apes storm the city is breathtaking. It's saying something when your heart breaks when apes die, but you don't even blink when the humans die.
Definitely worthy of the ticket price. In fact, it may be my favorite movie of 2011 thus far.