This trilogy began in 2011 and told us the story of how the world became overrun with intelligent apes who could talk. These three movies have explored the beginning of the end for humanities reign as the dominant species on planet Earth. So, did “War for the Planet of the Apes” succeed in completing the saga or was this film just monkeying around? Let’s dive in and take a look in this review…
The movie begins by recapping the first two films as the camera glides slowly through a forest (which is nice in case you don’t remember what the first two films were about.) Immediately we see that a team of military troops are on patrol and have found a trench with apes riding horses and carrying guns. The command is given and a battle begins taking lives both human and ape. From there, the film slows down considerably. The run time for this movie is two hours and twenty minutes. This is unnecessary because we could’ve enjoyed a shorter film and lost nothing from the story in my opinion. There is a lot of screen time spent on faces, walking and wide scenic shots. To be fair, the wide scenic shots look great. The scene where Caesar and the Colonel are talking is unnecessarily long too. I understand that director Matt Reeves was giving us a glimpse into the character, as well as, the motivations of the Colonel, but let’s get Woody Harrelson to speed up that speech.
The highlight for this film is probably the special effects/computer generated images (CGI) used to create this incredible world. The technology used to bring life to these apes while also giving them more human characteristics through motion-capture technology is top notch. Fear, anger, compassion, relief, and more are all captured wonderfully on the faces of each character in this film both human and not. Plus, the locations used in this film looked like something from another world, while also still being familiar enough to seem believable. Dense, lush, green forests with spectacular water falls take us somewhere that we’ve probably only ever seen in pictures and it’s great.
Overall, this movie continued the story that began in the last film with the conflict that Koba began and the retaliation of mankind. We see early on that Caesar is not interested in war (which was his stance in the last film). He’s simply trying to find a location for the apes to live in peace along with the humans who have survived the outbreak. It is an act of aggression by human soldiers that bring out the monster in Caesar and in the second act of the film we see the rage inside him spring to life. The character of Caesar continues to excel. From the first film where he’s simply an ape becoming intelligent to now where he’s a husband/father/warrior/leader, the writers involved in this trilogy did an excellent job getting me to care about a monkey. I won’t say the ending caused a great swell of emotions but I was pleased with it. I thought the writing for this particular installment resolved things for his character and the other apes.
“War for the Planet of the Apes” is in theaters now! After seeing this film I’m not surprised by the opening weekend box office numbers. I still recommend people see this film on the big screen because it’s a summer blockbuster with great special effects. There’s a few missteps in this film that I’ll cover on “Brunansky’s Vlog” but overall my biggest complaint is that it doesn’t need to be as long as it is. The score for this movie was my favorite aspect of this movie and it’s entirely possible I’m listening to it while I type this review. If you don’t decide to see this on the big screen I understand. However, I do recommend that you check this film out on Redbox or VOD once available.