And You Thought It Would Fail: This film was widely mocked before release as appearing to be an ill attempt to revive what was pretty much a dead franchise, especially after the virulent fan reception of the remake ten years prior. Then it came out and, to everyone's surprise, turned into a critical success, with a groundbreaking performance by Andy Serkis, as well as a commercial success, bringing hope back to the series.
Award Snub It didn't win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. And many, including James Franco, feel Andy Serkis should have been nominated for Best Actor.
Genius Bonus: Caesar explains why the apes should work in teams by using a bundle of sticks. In ancient Rome, from which Caesar owes his name, a bundle of sticks (or "fasces") was a symbol of authority, which in turn was where the word "fascism" comes from.
Harsher in Hindsight: Koba killing Jacobs. In the context of this film, it's a triumph against an Asshole Victim oppressor. However, in the context of the sequel, it's Koba's first kill, and he happened to like the taste....
The film's plot about animals going free due to abuse and the police gunning them down became a whole lot more darker following the mass animal release in Zanesville Ohio, where 49 animals were deliberately let out of their cages by their owner. The police were forced to shoot all animals dead to protect the public.
Making it worse is that it comes immediately after the absolute Narm of the gratuitous and forced Call Back to the original film's most famous line.
Special Effects Failure: There's several scenes during the Golden Gate Attack that seem more fitting to a cartoon than anything.
Spiritual Licensee: Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game, believes Rise to be "the first truly successful adaptation of my novel... to appear on the screen".note This was before the film adaptation ofEnder's Game came out. Aside from the protagonist being a chimp, the two stories are surprisingly similar: a child possessing seemingly unnatural intelligence is taken away from his family to be raised in an isolated environment by a group of manipulative adults who want to use his skills for their own ends, but he gradually develops his reasoning skills to become a strategic genius, wins the loyalty of a small group of devoted companions, and leads an outnumbered army to victory against another species— inadvertently wiping out the other species in the process.
It could also be seen as a treatment of F. Paul Wilson's Sims which involved transgenic chimpanzees fighting for their freedom, albeit less violently.
Uncanny Valley: Caesar's facial expressions are decidedly not chimp-like and a little too human. Justified in that he can't really be considered a chimpanzee anymore and he was also raised by humans.
Subtle differences can be found between the film's apes and real ones to make them feel more human. Observe this image of Caesar here◊ versus this photo of a real chimp here◊. The eyes have been made expressly human.
This is easily handwaved by Caesar being exposed to the genetic cure while in the womb. Apes other than Caesar and his adult son are much more ape-like (if a little bigger).
Robert Franklin and all the other so-called ape experts fail to notice that a female is pregnant, and later that there's a baby ape in her cell. Thus a dozen apes are put down due to a misunderstanding and bad timing.
Especially considering that they were using her to test a medical drug. When scientists do that, they keep track off all of the test subject's health signs. The company appears to be large and wealthy, so I doubt they're running some crap, unregulated operation. Even if they were stupidly not testing for signs, people who work with chimps a lot should've been able to notice she was pregnant just by looking at her.
Also, it's going to take more than two not-that-physically-fit-looking scientists to restrain an angry chimpanzee.
Dodge Landon stepping out into the pen to confront Caesar alone, seemingly unaware of how dangerous chimpanzees can be despite working with them, then following it up by trying to electrocute a talking ape (again) while the ape's holding a water hose.
Dodge's treatment of the apes, period. Yes, mistreat, tease, and torment the animals that are intelligent, have long-term memories, and are physically much stronger than you. See if that doesn'tbite you in the ass later.
Jacobs deciding to throw basic safety measures to the wind when testing out the new version of Will's drug. Apparently the thought of massive profits makes him lose all caution.
To be fair, Will's treatment up until that point had seemed like little more than a pipe dream. Even with all the data, Jacobs had never seen a successful test until Will broke protocol and treated his father. That turned Will's research from 'pet project' to 'wonder drug worth billions.'
It's still a severe Idiot Ball moment because he didn't even bother with making sure that were no potential nasty side-effects. The moment the possibility for lots of money became apparent, he gave into greed and discarded logic andcommon sense. And his idiocy is not only the reason Koba kills him, it's also partly the reason that practically no one sans a completely ignored researcher realized that Franklin died because of ALZ-113 (Jacob's would be moneymaker) and was thus unfit for human trial and mass production. The result? Apocalypse How, Class 3a.
Though even if they did contain him after the fact (it should've been before) how could they have possibly known he'd sneezed on a pilot? Apocalypse How? Not through Jacobs.
And also Franklin. Sure, he may have first tried to talk with Will by phone, but if he realized he was infected with a so-far deadly-looking disease, couldn't he have taken some precautions, like wearing a mask to block his sneezes? At least then perhaps the pilot wouldn't have contracted the disease, which in turn wouldn't have doomed mankind. Hell, Franklin should have said something the moment he noticed something was wrong, since he was completely fine until the accident in the testing room happened.
Jacobs refusing to continue testing of A112. I get that the chimp thing would be a PR disaster, but he basically has a miracle drug on hand. He cancelled the experiment without even an investigation, throwing god-knows-how-much money down the drain already. It's not like they were experimenting with some tiny little hypothesis that could maybe potentially be applied to future experiments; this was a drug that had gone through a long testing period and seemed to work perfectly.