Movie Review: War For The Planet Of The Apes

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 4/5 stars

Bottom Line: Wait, this is a revenge movie?  Amazing what you can do with little dialogue.  Good story line and effects.  The setup is complete for the original story?

“War for the Planet of the Apes” is, in all likelihood, the first ape revenge movie.  I was not expecting that.  It follows Caesar (Andy Serkis) as he changes role from leader of his apes to revenge machine determined to kill The Colonel (Woody Harrelson), who killed Caesar’s wife and eldest son, thinking that the latter was Caesar.

With a revenge movie, it is important to have an effective bad guy and Woody Harrelson as the Colonel is as effective as they come.  Driven.  Relentless.  A little crazy.  But his world view is coherent and consistent and given the context of the world in which they live, it makes complete sense that people would follow him.  And his end is also perfect justice.  What a great combination!

The show stealers are still the apes, though.  Throughout the trilogy, I have been constantly amazed by their emotive ability and the director’s/whomever’s ability to express so much with only a handful of lines of dialogue.  I think they got a little sloppy with their American Sign Language as the movies have progressed, but if you’ve ever watched an ASL interpreter, that gives you a feel at how expressive the apes are.

I wonder how many homages to the original move are in “War for the Planet of the Apes”.  I was able to catch two.  Caesar’s son is named Cornelius who was the ape played by Roddy McDowall in the original and the young girl is named Nova who was Charlton Heston’s mute mate in the original.  I only have a cursory remembrance of the original and I was able to point those two out.  Can anyone mention more?

The “Origin of the Planet of the Apes” trilogy is complete?  All the pieces are now there and the ending of this movie was ambiguous enough as to whether there will be another.  It was a wonderful trilogy and the evolution of the apes was wonderful to behold.  It is rare to see a trilogy evolve with such brilliance.  This would be a great trilogy to re-watch back to back to back on some lazy Sunday.

One thought on “Movie Review: War For The Planet Of The Apes

  1. Steven Scott

    I think my only complaint about this movie is that I thought I was getting a ‘war’ movie instead of a western-style revenge flick. The title paired with the opening scene left me wanting a more Ape on Human epic battle sequences and moral quandaries that aren’t just echoes of Vietnam.

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