War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review
"I did not start this war, but I will finish it." Caesar
War for the Planet of the Apes opens to lush landscapes, peaceful music and harmonious nature. Contrast that with the soldiers threatening to destroy the peaceful tranquility, creeping through the forest with guns drawn. A lot of emphasis is placed on the nicknames on the back of their helmets, some personal, some that simply read “monkey killer”. Looking through their gunsights, we see apes on patrol. Shooting erupts, creating death and carnage. Even though the humans had the jump on the apes - apes prevail. Four humans and a rogue ape are captured. In an act of mercy, Caesar (Andy Serkis) sends them back to their leader, the Colonel (Woody Harrelson), with a message – leave us alone and we leave you alone. Unfortunately, the Colonel seeking to destroy Caesar, does not pay heed and ambushes the ape camp. He kills Caesar’s wife and oldest son.
The ape tribe needs a new home, so Caesar sends them on a journey through the desert to find a new camp. In his hatred for the Colonel, however, he breaks from the tribe, leaves one remaining young child, and embarks on a personal journey to kill the man who murdered his family. A couple of his trusted circle of aides decide to go with him. Along the way they meet “Bad Ape” (Steve Kahn) and a little girl, they call Nova (Amiah Miller). The result is not only a battle for the planet, but man/ape kind, good versus evil and a personal battle of conscious.
Great movie moments:
Steve Zahn is hilarious as “bad ape”. His role adds humor and innocence in a world gone completely crazy.
Andy Serkis delivers, yet again, on the awesome role of Caesar, head of the ape tribe. The technology behind capturing the real expressions and emotions of a human on an “animal” is phenomenal.
The movie exemplifies many of the internally dark struggles we deal with. Take a look at social media, take a walk down the street - the struggle for basic human decency is real. The infighting amongst both the humans and the apes is representative of the dark place where too much of humanity currently resides. Both Caesar and Colonel, as leaders, are in constant personal conflict with humanity, morality and compassion versus hatred and revenge. As a leader, are you able to do what’s right when vengeance gets in the way?
Not-so-great movie moments:
As a fan of the original Planet of the Apes series, I am still not a fan of the naked apes, putting braids and beads on female apes to differentiate them from male apes, and the lack of talking amongst the apes. I generally don’t mind subtitles, but it’s so distracting with the grunts and screeches. One would have thought apes would have evolved enough to develop the gift of language in this final film of the trilogy.
The action scenes were remarkable, exciting and edge of the seat, however, there were really, long stretches of dialogue, if we could refer to the grunts and screeches as such. Since noise and sign language were the primary means of communication, the pace had to slow down to give the audience the opportunity to read the dialogue.
Overall, while I personally don’t feel that this came close to the original, but it was still a very decent final movie for the trilogy.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Director: Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
Rating: PG-13 - There is a lot of violence, guns, fighting, bombs…etc…
Runtime: 2 hours 20 minutes
Check out the original all time man vs. ape match up Battle For The Planet Of The Apes on Amazon.
I paid for the ticket with my own funds and have not been compensated for this review.
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