I wanted to like this film, but had more than a few problems with it. Mostly with the incredibly naïve and stupid script. Having lived for 16 years in San Francisco, I had issues with the "reality" of this sci-fi endeavor. Where is that waterfall exactly? In Marin? Sonoma? The hydropower facility, is that supposed to be Alpine Lake near Fairfax? Maybe there's more rain in this future NorCal setting, because it looks way too verdant. An armory at Fort Point?!? Isn't that kind of far from the downtown human settlement? And what are the apes eating up there in Marin? Grapes? Apples? A massive herd of Tule elk? There are many other issues, but we'll set that aside.
My main criticism is the utter naiveté of this post-apocalyptic screenplay. So civilization has collapsed, leaving humanity in a more primitive position, certainly without electricity, hence the urgent need to re-establish the hydropower dam. But they're still driving vehicles? Really? How are they keeping the tires inflated? Where are they getting the petrol? To travel to the dam site, why not do what the indigenous natives would have done. You know, maybe find a canoe (I'm sure they could salvage one from the abandoned REI store or something), and paddle it across the bay, and up Lagunitas Creek? No, this is America dammit, and Americans drive gawdammit! OK, we'll leave that aside for the moment. On to other issues.
So, civilization has collapsed. Why, then, are the surviving humans gathered in the heart of San Francisco? Why aren't they scattered across the landscape, cultivating crops, domesticating animals, foraging, fishing, hunting, and gathering? Why are they residing in a tower in the city? What are they eating? OK, maybe there's enough sustenance to plunder from the derelict Trader Joes and Whole Foods. But what are they drinking? No electricity means NO water from Hetch Hetchy. OK, maybe they're getting enough water from Mission Creek or they've dammed Lobos Creek or something. A consultation with an anthropologist or someone might have helped avoid some of these silly points. OK, leave the survival thing aside. Let's move on to social relations.
Having gained the intelligence of humans, the apes somehow evolved into some replica of human society: hierarchical (with Caesar at the summit), patriarchal, monogamous, etc. Really? Did the scriptwriters not think to read a book about primate behavior or consult with a zoologist? Meanwhile, the humans have taken to the benevolent dictatorship of scientist (?) Gary Oldman. Really? No council of elders? No military warlord? OK, whatever.
But further on the topic of social relations: this is fundamentally a film about the clash of cultures/species. OK, what does human history tell us about what happens with cultures meet? Well, they…trade. Yes, they make war, but usually they endeavor to happily co-exist and mutually benefit. There has been far more trading and exchange than war-making; mutually destructive violence tends to only happen as a breakdown in trade relations. The apes and humans might have peacefully negotiated a way to reengage the hydropower plant, but that would make for a boring film. So we'll first prepare for war. (And the humans trust their critical weapons at the unlikely Fort Point Armory to two of their most stupid and foolish guys, who are easily duped by an ape and yield up the entire armory to the chimpanzees!)
I could go on, but the point is made. The script is just stupid, with an overly ham-fisted attempt to create some sort of tragic Shakespearean parallel of peace/war advocates in both camps. This leaves us to wonder at the CG delights of the film, which are abundant, but aren't enough to satisfy any filmgoer above the age of 15. Stupid.