Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

Hail, Caesar

Two years after hate filled Koba started a conflict between human and apes, that war is still raging on. Caesar (Andy Serkis) has hidden his colony of apes deep in the forest. When he shows human soldiers mercy, their Colonel (Woody Harrelson) repays him in kind by orchestrated a night time raid on Caeser's colony. Now hellbent on revenge, Caesar attempts to leave on his own to find the Colonel, however a few of his loyal followers, Maurice (Karin Konoval) Rocket (Terry Notary) and Luca (Michael Adamthwaite) don't let him go solo.

I've really come to love the Planet of the Apes franchise. I've always enjoyed the movies, but in the past year or so I've really come to love them even more. I'd go back and bump up my original letter grades from B's to A's on each film if I believed in altering my old reviews. War does what I wish the other films had done more of: they focus on the Apes, the humans have even less screen time here. 

Every review I read mentioned how bleak this film is for a summer blockbuster, and make no mistake it is. It's incredibly sad, but I was surprised at the amount of lightness that was in it. It mostly comes from Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) a new addition. He's funny, yet tragic enough that he doesn't get pushed into the token comic relief box. There's an incredible sadness to him. Caesar of course is the heart of the film. The title, War is less about actual battles fought and more about what's going on inside him. The Colonel has taken so much from him, now he wrestles with the side of him that wants bloody revenge. Andy Serkis gives an incredible performance. Director Matt Reeves uses plenty of close ups so you can see Serkis within Caesar. 

Which brings me to the incredible CGI in this film. If this doesn't win the special effects Oscar, there's something seriously wrong here. These apes look real. The snow, the water, everything on their fur looks so real, and you can see the actor's faces etched into theirs. It's jaw dropping. The score for this film is also beautiful and fitting. I recommend waiting to see the film before listening to it in full. I'm firmly on the "Give Andy Serkis An Oscar Nomination" bandwagon. His work here is amazing. Harrelson, even though he's in it far less makes great use of all his screen time. While we hate him, his reasons for doing the things he does are logical. It's just unfortunate that it comes to this.

The film does follow a formula but most blockbuster films do. It doesn't hurt the film in any way. My only disappointments were some of the deaths. Having read the official prequel novels, there's two characters in particular that feature heavily, yet meet their demise in this film, and it makes me sad because I loved getting to know them so much. Please excuse me while I go cry again.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A+ (yep. I'm doing it. I can't wait to see this again. It's not even STID* glasses)

Memorable Quote: "They are the message." - Caesar (Andy Serkis)


*STID glasses = "Star Trek Into Darkness" glasses. When a film has so many flaws, but fuck you I had so much fun watching it.

12 comments:

  1. Great review! I'm firmly on the "Give Andy Serkis an Oscar" bandwagon. His performance was spectacular. And now I think I'll go cry again.

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    1. I'll cry again if he actually gets an Oscar nom.

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  2. I kind of skimmed this review (uh, I read 99%...through one eye), but I'm so f--king pumped now I can't stand it. Tomorrow night, 9:50. Can't wait.

    Oh, and thanks for the heads up. If you cried, I'm going to f--king die in the theater. And I'm going with a friend from work. Well...an ex-friend, likely.

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    1. A lot of people in my theater were crying, which made for an interesting ending because people clapped for the film, but you could hear all this sniffling at the same time. I can't wait to read your review!

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  3. Wow, I'm so surprised by the rating even though I have no idea what this franchise is about and wouldn't know what to expect. But it's good that there are movies that are actually using actors as the basis for the CGI process, just recently Marvel revealed four characters who haven't even been cast yet in terms of voice actors. It's like, CGI is taking over, and nobody needs actors anymore... Anyway, it's nice to hear you loved it, this summer deserves to give us all a good movie. I hope Dunkirk will be mine! :)

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    1. The mo cap in this is just astounding. I'm excited for Dunkirk too!

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  4. I do want to see this even though I had a feeling it would be so sad. I just hope the orangutan doesn't die. I agree that Andy Serkis deserves an oscar nom

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    1. It's worth it! I hope you get to see it.

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  5. So glad you liked it so much, I know how much u were looking for it. These films remind me of Project Nim which just infuriated me so much I honestly dont think I will ever see those

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    1. It gives you a nice outlet to hate other humans so I recommend them. lol

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