Truth be told, I’m not a fan of the Planet of the Apes franchise. Therefore, take everything I say in this discussion with a grain of salt.
War for the Planet of the Apes is a box office hit, wildly popular, and generally preferable over last week’s other release, Valerian. It is the third in a series of movies that tell the story of Caesar (Andy Serkis), an extremely intelligent ape who must face the humans in one final stand. The movie is filled to the brim with action sequences, suspense, and just enough emotive music to make it a film worth watching.
In terms of my rating system, which is on a five-point system, it is as follows:
Enjoyment – 4.5
I went into the movie with no expectations and absolutely no memory whatsoever of what occurred in the previous film. Within minutes, however, I was hooked. So much happened in War without it being too fast or too slow, and the plot flowed smoothly. The only difficult part to understand was differentiating between the different apes, especially considering the fact that most of them don’t even have names. Still, I was on the edge of my seat for most of the movie, and when I wasn’t, you can bet that my hands were covering my ears. Talk about a shock factor, eh?
Quality – 4
Oh my. Like, seriously, oh my. Andy Serkis is the man behind Gollum in Lord of the Rings. He is the man who is capable of playing probably any motion-capture role you can give him. Motion-capture is the type of tech used when actors put on those gray suits and the computers dress them up. Big-budget type stuff, you know. Serkis played Caesar perfectly, all the way from the intonation and delivery of his lines to the facial expressions that were translated onto a digital screen after. All the other actors play their roles effortlessly, each making an individual performance that makes telling them apart just a little easier. The motion-capture was flawless, and the sound editing (in my unprofessional opinion) was done well. There is nothing I can think of to fix concerning this movie, except maybe a few things about the plot, but that can’t be avoided.
Necessity – 3 or 4
Okay, it’s a little confusing but here’s why: If you’ve watched the other two, then yes yes yes you should watch it, and it wraps up the whole plot as a whole. If you haven’t, however, then I don’t think you reaally need to watch it, if only because I think it’s not going to change your life. However, that being said, if you love the art of movie-making, then this one has a myriad of pointers to give you. I’m not dying to see it again, and I’m not constantly thinking about it, either. That isn’t to say that I didn’t like it, because I definitely did, but it’s not an absolute must-watch, not in my opinion.
General – 4
I liked this movie. I did. I laughed and cried and gasped and one time, I even screamed. Andy Serkis made the world wonder why his performance wasn’t Oscar-worthy, and after watching War, it’s obvious why so many think it is. Truly, it was incredibly action-packed from start to finish, and there’s nothing I like more than a good action movie. So I gave this movie a 4 because it is a fantastic summer movie, but it falls short of being life-altering. Only one such movie could ever merit a 5 from me.
EVERYTHING BEYOND THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS. READ AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION.
The first time I felt like crying was when Caesar’s son came home, and the first time I did cry was when Caesar was grieving that same son five minutes later. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t think the stakes were gonna be so high not twenty minutes into the movie. Well, it got intense within the first five seconds, what with the soldiers attacking that dam like it was the last thing they were ever gonna do – oh wait.
I hated the Colonel with every fibre of my being for the two hours I sat in that theater seat watching him single-handedly destroy all the apes’ lives. I wanted to watch him be beaten to death like he undoubtedly allowed to happen to Caesar’s…troop? Herd? I don’t know the collective noun for all the apes. Harrelson’s portrayal of the hateful, ruthless leader was great, but I feel like the scene where he revealed the sad story of his son was missing a little more emotion. It rang a little false to me.
Oh my goodness, Nova. Nova. I knew she was going to be called Nova eventually, and that she would be a she-Tarzan among the apes from that moment Maurice adopted her. The disease that swept through the nation was a little odd, to be honest, but I accepted it, no questions asked. It was my best defense maneuver. My favourite character, however, was Bad Ape, if that even constitutes a name. He was hilarious with his little quiet remarks, and everything he said was funny. It balanced out the otherwise somber tone of the movie.
The amount of apes and people that die during this movie is astounding. First, it was the wife and firstborn son, then a friend, a random man, with dozens upon dozens of other apes and people thrown in between. Each death sent a message, each death was meaningful.
So, yeah. War for the Planet of the Apes was a good movie, a great movie, even. If there’s nothing else you can do, watch it. If you love movies, watch it.
Thanks for reading this review! See you next time.