The New York Times examines the Planet of the Apes franchise on the eve of the new movie, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." They say, in part:
Taken together the [original series of] movies constitute a cleverly worked out and (mostly) consistent mythology: an alternative, hairier, book of Genesis. The new “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” although it too features an überchimp named Caesar, consigns that bomb-based mythology to the dustbin of made-up history and instead attributes the origin of the super-species to genetic engineering: different anxieties for different times.
This reinvention of pop scripture is, of course, a risk: “Planet of the Apes” fundamentalists may reject it as heresy. But it’s probably inevitable. Show business, like evolution, is an inexorable and unforgiving process: those who fail to adapt are doomed to extinction. The real danger lies less in rethinking the story than in violating the basic nature of the original series’s kind of science fiction.
It's an interesting article and if it whets your appetite for more, check out Brian Pendreigh's excellent book Legend of the Planet of the Apes for a detailed history into the making of the original movies and the subsequent knock-offs.