‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ is one of franchise’s best (Videos)

WASHINGTON — Few science fiction franchises have been as successful, and as deeply thought provoking, as “The Planet of the Apes.”

The 1968 original offered one of the great twist endings of all time, as astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston) saw a collapsed Statue of Liberty on the beach. The image brought him to his knees, as he realized he hadn’t crash-landed on a faraway planet ruled by apes, but had instead spent the entire movie on future Earth, long after mankind had destroyed itself.

Hollywood’s latest reboot series shows exactly how this happened, starting with the critically acclaimed and commercially successful “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011) and now continuing with “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” in theaters Friday.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to report that this franchise is in great hands. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” rivals “X-Men: Days of Future Past” for the title of best summer blockbuster of the year, proving quality films can be made from franchise sequels.

We’ll get to the review in a second, but like anything in life, you don’t know where you’re going, unless you know where you’ve been. Below is a refresher on the franchise’s 10 installments. You probably don’t have time to watch all of them, but you should at least watch the 1968 original and the 2011 reboot, though the latest installment works on its own as a standalone piece of riveting entertainment.

“The Planet of the Apes” (1968)

Two years before winning Best Picture for “Patton” (1970), Franklin J. Schaffner directed one of the great sci-fi

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