War for the Planet of the Apes is directed by Matt Reaves. After a devastating loss, Caesar (Andy Serkis) faces off against the driven and barbaric Colonel (Woody Harrelson), in his attempts to avenge ape kind.
A near masterpiece - and certainly no monkeying around. Reaves has concluded the apes saga with a tour de force of epic old school Hollywood style execution. The beautiful delivery of Serkis' performance, is made possible through the richly talented screen writing that runs through the film. Reaves captures a classic Vietnam war style in a post apocalyptic movie set decades in the future, the suspense is steadily built around the quieter moments of the movie and doesn't just rely on blockbuster action to keep the pulse racing. With snowy peaks and a jungle ambush opening - Apes emphasises the visual and structural impact old Hollywood still has on movies today.
War for the Apes widens the lens onto more ape personalities in this third entry. In difference to its predecessor, we are given a range of characters rather than the standard good ape, bad ape. Maurice guides Caesar through his journey of vengeance as has memorable interactions with the mute human girl Nova. Luca offers a different set of emotions, providing affable interactions with little Nova and offering genuinely heartfelt moments.
What is most integral about each little but hugely significant scene is how the ape characters are truly told through their emotions. The Apes series is constantly on the cusp of overly simplifying everything as Caesar could just as well tell the audience the apes intentions, stripping away the emotional heft of each detailed ape scene. So much is told with so few words; sure there is millions of dollars worth of motion capture, but the little dialog used between the apes emphasises the growth of their characters across the three movies.
There is of course the underlying theme of earth reverting back to its old ways as nature takes control, and in one intense scene between Serkis and balding Harrelson the whole Ape/Human dynamic is exposed. A layered narrative naturally weaves a sub plot into the story, involving both apes and human characters - ultimately proving Colonel has more depth than perhaps originally imagined. For an incredibly dark movie, Reaves takes a leap of faith adding a comic relief. Though it shouldn't, it somehow works, offering a few good laughs without loosing focus on the main bulk of the story.
War for the Planet of the Apes boasts phenomenal visuals and magnificent acting mixed with a complex yet easy enough to follow story. Reaves capture the emotional significance of the apes, and underlines what the series - since 68- has always really been about. With its brilliant range of non speaking acting and the exhilarating yet thought provokinhg finale, War for the Planet of the Apes visualises a uncomfortably believable look into a world we hope will never to come.
War for the Planet of the Apes:
Pinch of info
Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.