War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

war for the planet of the apes poster 2017 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great storytelling and visuals

Ex machina ending

Movie Info

Movie Name:   War for the Planet of the Apes

Studio:  Chernin Enterainment

Genre(s):   Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):   June 1, 1972 (Hong Kong)/August 14, 1972 (US)

MPAA Rating:   PG-13

war for the planet of the apes andy serkis cast

Nova is the Patty Hearst of the Simian Liberation Army…

After the collapse of San Francisco, Caesar and the apes find themselves on the run from the military led by the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) who is bent on destroy the apes once and for all.  When tragedy strikes, Caesar decides to wage war himself.  Teamed with an orangutan Maurice, chimpanzee Rocket, and gorilla Luca, Caesar heads north to confront the demon plaguing his people, but the discovery of a young mute girl (Amiah Miller) could change the war and humanity forever!

Directed by Matt Reeves, War for the Planet of the Apes is a science-fiction war drama.  The third film in the Planet of the Apes relaunch following Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 2014, the movie was released to critical praise and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.

Planet of the Ape movies always remind me of childhood, and Saturday mornings watching replays of the classic film series.  The Planet of the Apes relaunch series (minus the awful 2001 Tim Burton mess) have been getting progressively better…and War for the Planet of the Apes is the result.

war for the planet of the apes colonel woody harrelson

The Colonel’s coming for you!

The story is strong with the Moses tale of Caesar trying to get his people to safety (even through the literal desert) combined with the Apocalypse Now retelling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.  The movie loosely ties in to the original film Battle for the Planet of the Apes film from 1973 (which was one of the sloppier entries).  The movie smartly sides viewers on the side of the “apes” against the humans even if it means humanity’s downfall…and you question if we don’t actually deserve to fail.  Caesar himself is made as a faulted character when he accidentally begins breaking his own rules and finds himself questioning his own mission of revenge.  I will say that I’m not exactly a fan of the ex machina ending moment however…it seemed unnecessary and over the top.

Andy Serkis was (once again) highly lauded for his portrayal of Caesar who continues to get more human.  Serkis has made a career of this and rarely gets recognized as an “actor” though the films often do win the effects category.  He’s joined by other motion capture actors Steve Zahn (as “Bad Ape”), Judy Greer (as Caesar’s wife), Karin Konoval as the likable Maurice, and other actors who all do a commendable job.  Woody Harrelson is always a scene stealer, but pretty much (admittedly) took his character from Marlon Brando’s portrayal of Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.

war for the planet of the apes caesar colonel andy serkis woody harrelson

It’s not like I have a gun pointed at your head…oh that’s right…I do!

Visually, the movie is quite astounding.  It does a great job making you forget that you are essentially watching a cartoon for most of the movie (if you boil it down).  It doesn’t feel like this.  The “apes” have real weight and feel to them.  They move right and the talking looks more seamless since lips and mouths often are challenging for motion capture.

War for the Planet of the Apes is a solid “ending” for the series.  Though it was planned to be the end, the success of the film and the opening for more storytelling has already led to talks of a fourth film being made.  In this case, I’d be ok with it.  If the story dovetails into the original film series (which is still essentially possible), there could be countless areas for tales or quasi-remakes.  Let the Apes have their day!

Related Links:

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Planet of the Apes (2001)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

The 90th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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