Review: War for the Planet of the Apes


Title: War for the Planet of the Apes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy SerkisWoody HarrelsonSteve Zahn
Runtime: 2 hr 20 mins

What It Is: War for the Planet of the Apes is an action/drama film and the third and final installment in the Planet of the Apes rebooted trilogy. When Caesar and his Apes are forced into battle with an army of humans, they suffer horrible losses. Caesar will have to begin a quest to avenge his kind as he is placed in an epic battle, both inner and outer, that will determine the future of the planet.

What We Think: The third film in the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy is definitely a must-see in theaters. The visual aspects of the film are stunning, most notably the special effects which are so realistic that at times it’s shocking when the camera gives us close-up shots of the apes. Coupled with rich, beautifully composed cinematography, this is a film that is visually arresting from beginning to end. Andy Serkis plays Caesar, and it’s arguably the best performance so far this year. This film wouldn’t have been the same without him; he lends the role an emotional depth, the core of the film even though the motion capture effects, enough that the effects seem to vanish. You feel the character as much as you behold him, and that is owed almost entirely to Serkis. It is absolute perfection. Woody Harrelson plays the villain, and while he isn’t given much to work with, his talents give his screen moments power, and he excels in one scene especially between him and Caesar.

I really enjoyed the first hour of the film as it showed us the start of a perfect end to this trilogy, but once a character called Bad Ape comes along, the film’s quality declines and turns predictable, with weird tonal shifts and forced comic relief. The script, written by Matt Reeves, was noticeably lacking in comparison to the previous two installments, and I thought the climax felt rushed and was ultimately disappointing. It never gave me the satisfaction that I wanted, especially for the finale to such a great trilogy.

Our Grade: B, The movie is worth a watch in theaters for all of its arresting visual splendor, but when it comes down to it, breathtaking visuals and performances can’t make up for the fact that this isn’t as good as the previous two installments, and it all makes for a relatively disappointing end to a great trilogy. But even so, it’s well worth the watch in theaters.

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