War for the Planet of the Apes review
If you want to talk about how a proper reboot of a series is done, then The Planet of the Apes is the answer. I’ll admit that I’ve seen none of the old movies, though I’m already aware of the big spoiler from the original, which is practically one of the most famous twists of all time. But I’m not here to talk about those, but rather the reboot movies that started with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Rather then remaking the original, it chose to take a different spin on how the apes became intelligent enough to pose a threat to the humans.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes proved to be a major surprise with a lot of critics and audiences finding a lot of sympathy with not only the apes, but apes that were completely computer generated. Plus you have to give a lot of credit to actor Andy Serkis (Gollum from The Lord of the Rings) who brings a lot of depth to his character Caesar and all through the magic of motion capture. Now that Rise and Dawn had built up how this world has succumbed to it’s own troubles, we get the finale of the prequel trilogy with War for the Planet of the Apes.
Set years after Dawn, Caesar (played by Andy Serkis) is still haunted by his memories of Koba, an ape that started the war between the humans and primates. Though they all seem to be living safe in the Muir forest, the Alpha-Omega, who seem to be the remaining U.S. military forces, come in to try to take out the apes. Caesar announces that he wants the entire clan to move out in the desert where they will be safe from the human. The night before they were to leave, their fortress is attacked and Caesar’s wife Cornelia are killed by the leader of the Alpha-Omega, The Colonel (played by Woody Harrelson).
Caesar orders the apes to set out for the desert while he heads to the Alpha-Omega headquarters to kill the Colonel in revenge. He’s joined by orangutan Maurice, and fellow chimpanzee Rocket to make sure that Caesar is safe. The apes discover many things including a mute human orphan girl that Maurice adopts, an ape named “Bad Ape” (played by Steve Zahn), and that the virus that killed most humans may be worse for the ones that lived. Caesar and the apes make it to the headquarters to discover something horrible.
As far as this is going, War for the Planet of the Apes continues to rise like the apes who want to be seen as smart and elusive. This movie accomplishes that goal and them some. This happens to be a blockbuster that delivers on the action, but manages to put a lot of emotion into the idea that your about to take on the responsibility of leadership. Sure, some may already see this as a story that doesn’t end well for the humans, but you see the tragedy of that the weight Caesar feels when he comes to this conclusion.
War for the Planet of the Apes takes cues from the previous Ape movies and revenge westerns to make this the most personal journey for Caesar he has had to undergo. His journey takes him through a beautifully shot film that flows at smooth place, though it does become a little too slow before they reach the humans hideout. Had the CGI been bad, this movie would have fell apart, but I found myself constantly forgetting that I was watching that. The apes have some of the most reactive faces that could rival any bad human actor.
Of course I have to talk about Andy Serkis who remains a highly underrated actor. I’m not sure why motion capture performances are rarely noted, but his response through the machines his fantastic. I don’t think it’s Oscar worthy, but he brings a lot of depth to his character and even seems to connect with his other performances simultaneously to create an arc that spans the three movies. While the humans do well, this movie belongs to the apes who can proudly claim this as their magnum-opus.
I’ll give this four and a half Caesars out of five. While you don’t need to see the other movies, I’d still recommend doing so before checking this out. While I’m glad to see this trilogy end on a high note, I’m curious to see if the box office grossings would justify more movies from this series (maybe a possible adaptation of the original Planet of the Apes?). Give the apes their movie and check it out.