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August 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

No critic has bestowed a four-star review on Rise of the Planet of the Apes. But they have been giving it a lot of three-star ones. In fact, there’s not a negative review among the major newspaper critics. There’s no great cinematic artistry here, no memorable lines, no Oscar-worthy performances, they say, but Manohla Dargis in the New York Times sums up their overall reaction when she writes that the movie “is precisely the kind of summer diversion that the studios have such a hard time making now. It’s good, canny-dumb fun.” Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times found it “smart, fun and thoroughly enjoyable.” The only other recent film that garnered such an abundance of polite praise was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, but in that case critics warned that moviegoers coming late to the franchise would have a difficult time figuring out what was going on. In the case of Apes, however, writes Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune, it “really does stand alone as a satisfying prequel requiring little or knowledge or nostalgia for the five Planet of the Apes pictures” that came before it. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times is certainly not wowed by the film, but he does allow: “This is the movie you may have been expecting. No less, no more.” Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street finds fault with a jumpy plot. “Judged, though, as the action extravaganza it means to be, Rise of the Planet of the Apes wins high marks for originality, and takes top honors for spectacle.”