APES. TOGETHER. STRONG.
War for the Planet of the Apes is directed by Matt Reeves, and stars Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, and Amiah Miller.
This is the third entry of the series of films that started with Rise of The Planet of the Apes, and quite possibly the best of out of the three.
We see the apes taking refuge, and trying their best to stay neutral as they’re told to by Caesar. But of course with what Koba did in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the humans will not stay idle until the apes are eradicated, and this is where The Colonel portrayed by the wonderful Woody Harrelson comes in.
Out of all the other movies, this is the most focused on Caesar. It’s a revenge story, it’s a very personal story. Caesar is trying to do what’s right. Yet, at the same time he’s going into a very similar path that Koba took. This is where the conflict, and the true War takes place. This isn’t a Return of the Jedi-esque film where the third act becomes this huge battle between the opposing sides. It presents itself more as psychological thriller, and definitely more of a drama, than it is and action flick.
Caesar is definitely being put under the microscope this time. After his efforts to show the humans that the apes are neutral failed, he grows tiresome, and impatient. He struggles to fight the demons inside him that would turn him into what Koba was. This internal struggle was shown beautifully, and it makes Caesar all the more compelling.
But the praise doesn’t end there. The motion capture team is to be commended, these apes feel real, and that’s it. Never for a split second i thought these were men in a mo-cap suit portraying apes. It’s mind boggling sometimes that the character we sympathize the most is an ape, and that’s credit to Andy Serkis‘ performance (somebody give him an Oscar, please). Woody Harrelson provided a great performance as the central villain, although i understood his motivations, i don’t necessarily find him as compelling as he could’ve been. With that said, Steve Zahn as Bad Ape is probably one of the highlights of the film, serves as a great comic relief, yet it doesn’t compromise the movie ala Jar Jar Binks. Amiah Miller was also great, and you can definitely tell Matt Reeves took notes of Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things, and not to mention Dafne Keen from Logan.
With great direction from Matt Reeves, beautiful looking cinematography, great performances across the board, not to mention a gripping personal story. War for the Planet of the Apes is a non-stop ride from start to finish. It’s personal, haunting, and beautiful.