Cert: 12A Runtime: 140 mins Director: Matt Reeves Cast: Andy Serkis, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Amiah Miller, Terry Notary and Woody Harrelson
There are times when it is necessary to abandon our humanity to save humanity.
The Planet of the Apes prequels surprised most cinema goers with two strong film. From Rise to Dawn we are now at War, the story of Caesar continues. What has made these films so profound, is it’s intellect to challenge the audience. Each film has such social and political undertones you feel like you are a member of MENSA leaving the cinema. So what is War for the Planet of the Apes about? Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson). After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both of their species and the future of the planet.
“War” is referenced in the title it’s what you might imagine, especially after the much more action-packed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The movie has action scenes, but they are the consequences of the drama, and they are there to serve the emotions. The movie worked very well for me because of amazing CGI, character development, suspenseful action and emotional, sometimes gut-wrenching scenes. The film also paces itself pretty well after the initial first 45 minutes. From the beginning, we get an ill-fated scene that pushes Caesar to have new motivation for the rest of the movie. Everything that was established before that scene sets up it up perfectly. This film did not let up, as moments like this happen again and again, without ever feeling forced or sappy, all appropriate for the circumstances within the story.
Andy Serkis plays Caesar, and once again his performance is the key to the film. Unlike the first two where Caesar was more reactive to situations, in War, Serkis has to play him filled with rage, and it worked. He has nuances of someone who has had enough of being hunted and victimised, which directly combats with his innate compassionate nature. Woody Harrelson was a rather weak point in the film, the human villains never seem to be able to top Koba. The rest of the apes are very likeable, the standouts to me being Maurice and Bad Ape. Maurice is again the trustworthy right-hand man to Caesar and aside from his effects being fantastic, he gave off a sweet, sympathetic vibe that you cannot help but like him. Bad Ape provides the comedic relief, it was rather necessary when we had bleak moment in the film. Nova was a very good character and might be the heart and soul of the film. I love her sweet interactions with the apes, to juxtapose how seemingly more humans the apes are becoming. War for the Planet of the Apes is desolate, sometimes depressing film that is lightened up only by sweet, tender moments and highly emotional scenes. A fitting ending to this tale.