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For a moment there I genuinely thought that they would run out of “Somethings” to be Something of/for the Planet of the Apes. Luckily the number of English nouns is vast.
War for the Planet of the Apes starts a few years after Dawn. The Apes are in the middle of an all out war for survival against the Humans. Caesar has to best his demons and a ruthless Human Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson.
My relationship with this franchise, in particular with the reboot trilogy of the 2010s has been a beautiful but complicated one. Upon first seeing the trailer for Rise, I thought it looked stupid and weird. Then the film came out and I liked it. Then Dawn came out and I liked it even more. Then I started to think about these films’ contrivances and I started to waiver. Then I heard about this movie and I became mega-stoked.
Perhaps a little too stoked. While watching this film there was the odd moment I hated. Generally it was a moment that could have been rescued with better execution. A character moment designed only to make you remember them when they die a few minutes later happens more than once in War. Some exposition becomes clumsy. The connection to the broader franchise is as confusing as any other link in its bizarre chain. These nit-picks plus a personal ailment of mine I was suffering from while watching all added up to an acute nuisance.
However, this movie stops this nuisance getting in the way using one simple trick. Being bloody amazing!
Of course Andy Serkis, once again using performance-capture technology to portray Caesar, the chimp leader of the apes, is amazing. Yet in WOTPOTA he goes to a level that would make it sacrilegious for him not to receive at least a nomination for some prestigious award.
Both his performance and the tech supporting it has improved to such an extent that one really feels his presence as a living, breathing ape.
War also acts as a near-perfect trilogy topper for this little section of POTA. Both the humans and the apes are pushed further to extremes than ever. Both not only hate one another through misunderstandings based on their personal experiences, but for objectively understandable reasons.
The Human Colonel I mentioned at the beginning of this review has to be one of the best antagonists I’ve seen for years. The debt owed to Apocalypse Now is clear to see and in this Colonel, Kurtz’s ghost looms large. (We even see some graffiti in the background saying Ape-ocalypse Now!)
I have no idea where the Planet of the Apes franchise is going to go from here, nobody ever does. I just say that this trilogy has ended well and I’m sure to look back at it for years to ocme.
Recommended Scenario: If you want to see the best trilogy since Toy Story.