I should say first off that I've always been a fan of the Planet of the Apes series of films, live action TV shows and cartoons. Their apocalyptic nature has always fascinated me.
This reboot of the film series is starting out in a nice chronological order--at the beginning of what is intended to be a series of films.
It loses some of the mystery of the originals in that right away you learn why the apes became as smart as they did and you can see the storyline arc leading to their domination over humans from a mile away.
Still, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a solidly entertaining film. Not great, its too formulaic and retreads too much ground to be great, but as a modern adaptation of prior (dare I say it) classic, it performs well.
Andy Serkis, who should have gotten an Oscar nod, for his portrayal as Caeser is the best part of the film and carries much of the action. Its truly Caeser's film and not James Franco's protagonist.
The film is also smart enough to reference the original film (using Heston's famous "Get your hands off me you damned dirty ape!" line but in a completely different way as well as giving snippets of background on a manned trip to Mars that goes missing that we know will return to a completely changed world in later films) without offending its audience's intelligence.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is about as good as a reboot can get. I still prefer the original--Heston, his loincloth and rubber suited apes and all--but this was pretty darn good for a modern substitution.