Caesar is forced to lead the apes into war against the last remnants
of the human race, while also facing his personal demons.
War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)
Directed by Matt Reeves
Written by Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves
Starring Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn,
Karin Konoval, Amiah Miller, Terry Notary, Ty Olsson
Sequel to 2014's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Oscar Nominations - Best Visual Effects
The new Apes trilogy proved that not all reboots are mindless rehashes of past stories. They built a magnificent story using an interesting but goofy premise that somehow spawned a massive B-movie franchise in the 1970's. With the final film of Caesar's epic journey, Matt Reeves puts his mark on the franchise with a finale loaded with action, drama, and ultimately possibilities. It ties in neatly to the original 1968 classic and ends the Rise/Dawn/War trilogy on a visually stunning high note.
War for the Planet of the Apes takes place two years after Koba's betrayal and the apes' declaration of war. Caesar and his group are on the run from a militant sect of surviving humans hellbent on ape extermination. They are being led by a vicious madman called the Colonel, in a memorable villainous role from Woody Harrelson, who believes himself to be the savior of humanity. After he attacks Caesar's family, Caesar goes on a rampage of vengeance and loses his way. Andy Serkis was great in this role before, but he absolutely shines in this third installment. We get to see a Caesar that is wartorn and weary from his years keeping the apes safe. We can see the pain in his eyes. It's yet another performance that Serkis can add to his already impressive list.
This film, more than any before it, really emphasizes the humanity of the apes and the inhumanity of the human characters. Once again, we find ourselves rooting against our own species in a fight against extinction. It boils down to impressive storytelling and realistic characters. Though this film marks the end for Caesar's journey, the end leaves the possibility for another story to be told. After all, there's still a lot of time to fill between this film and the original. Regardless of what the studio chooses to do, War ends the Wyatt/Reeves trilogy with a solid third chapter that neatly wraps up the story of one of modern cinema's most endearing underdogs.
Rarely does a movie series just keep getting better each time a sequel is released. But when they do, it's a joy to watch happen. Luckily, the rebooted, prequel Planet of the Apes trilogy does just that. Building off the foundation set by the previous two installments while completing the groundwork for the original series; War for the Planet of the Apes is a gripping conclusion to this already excellent trilogy. Apes together strong, indeed.
Caesar returns in this installment (as he should being the main character and all) and with him comes the performance done by Andy Serkis. Just like the past two installments, Serkis delivers a great performance. Unlike them, though, he truly shines in the role of Caesar. He brings a war torn and beaten leader who wants nothing more than for the apes to live a peaceful life. Serkis once again owns this role and gives another case in why the Oscars should start consider motion capture in their nominations. Not to far behind is Woody Harrelson as the villainous Colonel. While there honestly isn't that much to the character beyond his determination to exterminate all apes, he he brings a much needed evilness to the role. Also, gotta give a shout out to Steve Zahn. Gives an otherwise serious movie some much appreciated, and well done, humor.
War for the Planet of the Apes continues the themes carried on by its predecessors. That is, with the progress of the virus, we see the apes become more human and the humans reverting to their animalistic instincts. This has always been a theme in the series, but this installment has the best showcasing of it. For those that have enjoyed this recent trilogy of films, War is a fitting conclusion to this epic saga. While I would love for this to be the final one, I know talks are already going on about a fourth installment. As long as they keep the quality up, I'll gladly keep watching. Until then, I got this excellent entry to enjoy in the meantime.