The new Planet of the Apes trilogy, which could be defined either as a prequel or reboot (or both), is probably the most innovative take on a pre-existing IP. Yes, it was needed given Burton’s 2001 misfire, nevertheless, this new vision helped Hollywood realize the audience is ready to take on more mature content, even when it comes to blockbuster.
In a way, it continued what Nolan started with Batman Begins and, in a larger fashion, its sequel, The Dark Knight.
War for the Planet of the Apes is probably the best among the three. While it’s not literally a war movie (given there’s no actual war scene, if not at the very beginning), the word ‘war’ is still very suitable to describe this film – the emotions I get when hear/read that word are pain, dismay, fear, violence. All of which are concepts suitable to ‘war’ to most people.
This third chapter perfectly represents those emotions as often as possible, starting from the grim color palette, the dialogue and the blood thirsty characters – a thing our hero Ceaser is not exempt this time around.
Now that I think about it, the title might refer to the personal war Ceasar will start to fight. The reasons behind his bloodthirst are very valid and relatable, even though I won’t explain anything in details since this is a spoiler-free review.
As you might have already understood, the movie is not the average PG-13 picture you take your family to watch. If you were planning to, don’t: not only the film treats some themes and content that are not suitable for a young kid, but they might get bored as it slowly moves through the scene, and the presentation is really numbly colored – which is obviously not a bad thing.
The way they move around showing actual violence is the classic: cutaways, very wide shots, low light, very low amount of blood. However, the emotions are still there, thanks to reaction shots and a masterful use of the soundtrack.
Generally speaking, Matt Reeves once again showed us he can direct a movie at the same level of greatest of our times. Which is great as we are waiting for The Batman, as long as Warner Bros. will let him do what he wants.
Hopefully, in The Batman, we’ll see Michael Giacchino returning to work with Reeves, as in this case (I’m repeating myself considerably a bunch of times, do I?) the composer expanded the tone and tension the director had always in mind for this film.
What’s the highlight in War for the Planet of the Apes?
Surely Andy Serkis. I think spending more adjectives to describe his magnificent performance is useless. But I’m going to say this: he deserves a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the next Academy Awards. I know, I advocated against the Oscars political nature for a long time. However, this time around is about recognizing the talent of the last groundbreaking actor in Hollywood. It’s about time to realize that motion capture is more of a makeup to actors than CGI. Will it happen? I don’t think so, but it should be about time.
All other Apes are also gracefully presented. From the ever-best friend Maurice to Bad Ape, the new entry by Steve Zahn which will warm everyone’s heart.
The story is great, as you probably grasped by my words. The only thing that I will blame this trilogy for is to change the human characters in each movie, and never referencing them in the sequels. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, James Franco’s character was indeed referenced, but only for a moment. While it’s not something that disrupts my perception of the movies, it still feels somewhat a reason to see it as a disconnected narrative. This, of course, is not to diminish Woody Harrelson psychopathic performance, but you know what I mean.
War for the Planet of the Apes is, by far, the best movie of the year hands down. Will it be recognized? I doubt, but we shall see.