**No spoilers for War for the Planet of the Apes**
War for the Planet of the Apes is the third installment of an interesting franchise. While I enjoyed the concepts behind the original Planet of the Apes, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the movie. The reboots, however, have been an incredible and ambitious series of films. Rise did a great job at introducing the concepts of the old films into this new, original story. It respected its source material while telling its own story. Dawn took the characters of the first film and put them on a whole other level. It manages to tell a story of conflict between apes and humans that never felt too simple. There are real reasons behind every action, it isn’t just “Apes = Good, Humans = Bad”. There’s a grey area in both parties and their ideologies.
And now we have War for the Planet of the Apes, the final (?) film in the series. This movie does a wonderful job at ending one of the best trilogies to date. That may sound surprising, but honestly, the quality between each of these films is much better than we deserve. Amidst all the summer blockbusters full of explosions and CGI-galore, we have a film that really understands what matters in a story. Characters.
Sure, there are moments of explosion-y action and of course this movie is FULL of CGI effects. But that’s not the selling point of the movie. I think if you go into this movie anticipating some epic war film between two opposing forces, you will be disappointed. This movie is called War for the Planet of the Apes, so it’s understandable for people to go into this movie thinking that, but I feel like the “War” is really meant to define Caeser’s role in this story. Caeser is pushed to his limits in this film, both physically and mentally. He suffers from a lot of internal demons that haunt him from the first two movies and they affect his actions in this film. This “War” is really just a character study for Caeser. He’s been through a ton, even before this movie, and he didn’t ask for any of it. This may sound silly for people who have not seen these movies, but Caeser, the ape, is one of the greatest characters in movie history. I mean it.
And this is when the topic of “does Andy Serkis deserve an Oscar?” comes up.
I think for the substantial amount of effort he puts into his work and the performances he portrays on the screen as non-living characters deserves to be recognized. I don’t know exactly how to do this, but if Andy Serkis was nominated for “Best Actor”, I would be completely on board. That guy is one of the hardest working people in the film industry.
Back to the movie.
Woody Harrelson does a wonderful job as the antagonist for the apes. At first I was a little disappointed that his character felt too simple. “Military guy doesn’t like apes so he hunts down apes”. But as the film goes on, you learn more about his motives and, again, introduces this grey area where there is no easy answer.
This movie is just GORGEOUS! There is never a moment that made me think: Those aren’t really apes talking to humans. I was glued to the screen and believed every minute of it. There were a few shots where the green-screen backgrounds didn’t blend well with the characters, but these were few and far between.
I do have a few negative nitpicks to point out. I felt like there were points of this movie that were a bit too slow. The pace could have been a bit quicker at times. There are also a few moments of this film that felt a bit too easy for the characters. Some actions they take have no consequences and it felt bizarre to see. If you have seen the movie, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.
This movie was an EPIC conclusion to an EPIC trilogy. There are brilliant moments of action, tension, and drama. I had no idea that the most suspenseful scene in the film would be a conversation between an ape and a human. I would like to see the series continue at some point, but right now, I’m happy with where the story has ended. I’m going to give War for the Planet of the Apes a FANTASTIC out of 10.
What did you think of War of the Planet of the Apes?
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Thanks for reading!
**My next review will be on Dunkirk**