Nov-20-2017

Reel Snippet – War for the Planet of the Apes

Summary: In the not too distant future, humanity is all but wiped out and those left are fearful of the intelligent apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis). Caesar simply wants peace for his kind, but when a deranged military man named the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) kills Caesar’s wife and eldest son in an attempt on his life, Caesar travels with his most trusted comrades to enact justice on him. They find some shocking discoveries out beyond their borders: a mute human girl (Amiah Miller) whose affliction seems to be spreading, more intelligent apes beyond his tribe (one named Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) joining his entourage), and that the Colonel is using Caesar’s captured tribe as labor to build a wall for an oncoming army. The time for peace has passed; ape must fight human in the ultimate test of survival of the fittest.

Review: War For the Planet of the Apes is a phenomenal movie and a fitting end to the “Caesar trilogy.” The astonishing thing is that the film tells such a compelling story with minimal dialogue. With few exceptions, most of the apes communicate with sign language or gestures and very little spoken word. Of course, Caesar can speak full English, allowing for some chilling scenes when he finally comes face to face with the Colonel.

Speaking of the Colonel, he might honestly be one of the best movie villains I’ve seen in a long time. He’s not just a generic jerk or doomsday villain, instead having a sympathetic backstory while also being incredibly vicious in his despotic actions. Woody Harrelson knocks it out of the park with a truly amazing performance. And oh, his fate… I won’t spoil it here, but I find it absolutely poetic.

Despite having “war” in the title, there’s not a ton of battles in it, making it less like Star Wars or Saving Private Ryan and more like Stalag 17 or The Great Escape. It mostly takes place in a prison camp, where the goal is escape and survival rather than conquest and victory. There’s also themes of fallout and PTSD, as visions of the last movie’s antagonist, the vengeful ape Koba (Toby Kebbell), haunt Caesar’s mind.

There’s a lot to love about this movie, especially if you’re a fan of the original movies (there are a few cameos of characters who would go on to be major figures in the original first film). It’s a somber story that captures the horrors of being hunted and exploited, all culminating in a gut-wrenching ending. I hear they’re going to do another movie after this, which baffles me because everything has come full circle and been tied up perfectly. Then again, for a series that didn’t need to exist (I certainly wasn’t interested in knowing how the apes came into power), it delivered in every way imaginable and made for an amazing experience, so hopefully this will continue the momentum.

Fun Tidbit: We actually have a returning actor from previous films, though you wouldn’t know it on your first viewing. Ty Olsson, who played Police Chief John Hamil in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, provides the motion capture for the gorilla Red, who defected to the Colonel’s army and was labeled a “donkey.”


Goto Home Page
Posted under