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  • Writer's pictureRyan Nevin

War for the Planet of the Apes Review

War for the Planet of the Apes is a great end to a fairly underrated trilogy. Was this film perfect? Far from it. What it was was a film full of emotion and inspiration. The tale of Caesar the Ape is like none I have ever seen before, and it will be a long time before we get anything like this again.

The film starts off straight into the action, with the apes having to defend themselves from the humans. This being the trend throughout the whole trilogy, and is something I felt has been a great spin on the Planet of the Apes story. The monkeys did not ask for this, they didn’t choose to be given this gift of extreme intelligence, and nor did they want the human race to be wiped out, but humans being humans, fearing anything that is more powerful than them, they feel they need destroy the apes, starting with their leader Caesar; this being the catalyst for the film’s story.

Caesar the Ape

With the humans being so dedicated to kill Caesar they manage to infiltrate his secret lair, this being lead by Woody Harrelson’s character ‘The Colonel’, as shown in the trailer, and even though they do not manage to kill Caesar himself, they inflict incredible pain on him emotionally, by the destruction they leave behind. The scene directly after this infiltration is heart wrenching, not just because what has just happened, but because of Caesar’s history. He has done nothing but try and make peace with our kind, he has lost friends defending them, his family were humans, and for them to come to his home and cause the pain he has tried so hard to defend them from just pulls your strings.

This first 30 minutes or so of the film really had my emotions all over the place, and really set the standard for the movie which, sadly, I don’t feel it managed to maintain. Does this make it a bad film? Not necessarily, but I was disappointed to find myself come off that emotional rollercoaster so soon.

With Caesar now full of pain and upset, this became the spine to the film, with him wanting to catch The Colonel at any cost, making decisions that weren’t like him, and in turn these decisions having repercussions that finalised his character arc. Caesar has always been somewhat perfect, and this film brought him down to the humans level. This being very much a redemption story for the character, and becoming his final test. I just wish he could have redeemed himself a bit faster.

The film was 2 hours 20 minutes in length, which I feel was just too long, especially as the build up didn’t really lead to a satisfying finale, considering the length of time it took to get there. There were parts I found myself getting a little bored. The story was very well thought out it just could have been executed a bit better.

The score for this film was composed by Michael Giacchino, who is becoming Hollywood’s go to guy at the moment with him recently doing the score for Spider-Man, and the first composer to take on a Star Wars film that isn’t John Williams, in Rogue One. I felt in this score there were some tracks that we maybe a little too intense for the scene itself, but overall it is a great soundtrack. The song “Exodus Wounds” being a highlight for me.

Caesar on horse

There are so many awards given to actors who can play a HUMAN role really well, but the fact Andy Serkis has been overlooked for his portrayal of Caesar the ape is a real tragedy. For someone to be able to blend animal and human so well, and make you feel for this character in such depth, is an absolute credit to the actor. I am glad he managed to end his run as Caesar on a high.

Before signing off on this review I have to mention the CGI. The apes in this film looked incredible. If they decided to chuck in a real ape, I don’t think i’d have been able to point him out just on looks. I also loved how they aged Caesar as well, that was a really nice touch.

War for the Planet of the Apes is a great end to a brilliant trilogy, and a film I would highly recommend. It may be a bit long, and fall short in some areas in regards to it’s story execution, but overall it is an enjoyable film, and a traditional summer blockbuster.

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