Going Ape for “War”

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES is a wonderful, thoughtful conclusion to this prequel trilogy. Stunning cinematography and terrific motion-capture performances fill this Oscar-worthy picture. No, it’s not your normal summer blockbuster fare. Yes, you have your action, explosions – the drama of it all! But you leave with something much deeper – thoughts on war and fear.

Director Matt Reeves, who co-wrote this moving piece of cinema with Mark Bomback, places us right in conflict at the very start and it doesn’t let up from there. Tragedy strikes the Apes after a nighttime assassination attempt on Caesar (Andy Serkis), the leader of the Apes, led by the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) of a surviving U.S. Army troupe. Broken and afraid, the Apes need a new sanctuary. Caesar needs revenge. He and a few loyal followers set out on a quest for vengeance. Along the way, they pick up a human girl, Nova. She is mute, a victim of the simian flu, a degenerative disease that has been wiping out the human race. And then comes Bad Ape played by Steve Zahn quenching us with some comedic relief we so desperately thirst for in this otherwise depressing feature. I don’t mean depressing as a negative. War is inherently depressing and sad.

The performances are mostly mo-cap and I don’t mind. Led brilliantly by the king of mo-cap, Andy Serkis delivers a wonderful final performance as Caesar, the merciful leader of the Apes. The motion capture effects in this film are amazing and sure to be recognized come Oscar season. Like Summer Oscar babes of the past, WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES is on the same level as THE DARK KNIGHT and MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

This is the final act of a war story. This a tale of revenge – a quest for peace. If you’re not on the side of the Apes in this film, you and I probably have fundamental differences and would not get along. I love it when a big budget studio film can be more than popcorn fluff. It proves that there’s always room for thoughtfulness. While this is a visually stunning film, it has something to say. And we should all listen.

Did you miss the two previous films in this rebooted franchise? Well, do yourself a big favor and have a little movie marathon with RISE and DAWN. After that, march on down to your local cineplex, get yourself a ticket to WAR. You won’t regret it.

Film: War for the Planet of the Apes
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2hrs 20mins
Director: Matt Reeves
Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Toby Kebbel
Ry View: HIGHLY RYcommended

YES, I know that’s a silly image for such a serious movie. LOL

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