The unlikely standout blockbuster of 2011, ROTPOTA is one of those rare beasts that successfully merges jaw-dropping action with intelligent, thought-provoking themes. This is no dumb fun – although it’s good enough to be if that’s all you want from it – but instead a stimulating trip back to where it all began for the ascension of the apes (as seen in the original Planet of the Apes). The human cast are all terrific, especially James Franco as the thoughtful scientist, but it’s the inferior primates (or are they?) that are the real standouts. A perfect convergence of performance by Andy Serkis (who also played Gollum and King Kong) and photorealistic motion-capture CGI, Caesar – the genetically enhanced ape we follow from birth – is a memorable, affecting and powerful character. The gap between live acting and mo-cap acting is no more.