I saw this film in theaters recently and while it had some of the most technically impressive visual effects I've seen in a while, it also made me realize that visual effects are a means and not an end. Caesar, a realistic computer generated ape played through motion capture by Andy Serkis was remarkable not only because he looked physically realistic but because he felt emotionally realistic. Largely through Andy Serkis's performance, a three dimensional computer rendering became a three dimensional character.
Ultimately, I don't think special effects change what film is about: they are just another tool to be used to tell great stories or deliver though provoking experiences. In a time when filmmakers can show literally anything happen in a film (provided you have the time and money), I think it's even more important that we think carefully about what we choose to show and why we choose to show it.