WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES REVIEW – ★★★½

10 years ago no one would have thought that the Planet of the Apes franchise would not only be a box office success but also receive major critical acclaim.

The possible final installment of the Apes franchise kicks off 2 years after the second instalment – Dawn? I wanna say Dawn *googles* yes Dawn! (I can’t help but get confused by the titles). Caesar (Andy Serkis) has gone into hiding but when he suffers a great loss, he has no choice but to bring war to the Colonel (Woody Harrelson), what follows is not just an extravagant war movie but also an emotional ride.

I liked this movie I really did, it’s a very slow burn but it pays off – somewhat anyway. If you’re emotionally involved with the franchise this will be your favourite instalment, I however am not and I preferred the action and intensity of its predecessor.

What I did really like about this installment of the franchise was Andy Serkis he gives an award worthy performance as Caesar and gives his all in this and leads to some of the best moments of the movie. Woody Harrelson as mentioned above portrays the Colonel and he is terrifying, a truly evil change of pace for Harrelson. The casting is truly remarkable in this movie, even the motion actors nails it – Maurice was always the heart of the franchise for me and in this instalment that rings even more true. Bad Ape was a new addition to the cast portrayed by Steve Zahn is the comic relief of War and is the light in a rather dark movie.

Matt Reeves is somewhat of a pro with this franchise, directing 2/3 of this trilogy. As mentioned to me this movie was a slow burner and I felt the pacing was a little bit off, I would’ve preferred a more consistent movie more in line with what we’d seen previously. It’s clear that this movie was destined to have a very sombre tone and it works of off this, I think Reeves wanted to make a more emotional movie – which he 100% accomplished (there were people audibly sobbing throughout the theater) which often leads to a slower paced movie – I personally just wanted more war? But then when the war was on screen it was a little too much and was very all out when I would’ve preferred a more grounded battle but this is somewhat to do with story.

My only issue with the story is it’s finale, specifically the war – I feel like it was somewhat shoehorned in to be this full on battle and push us towards this conclusion. Other than that the story was very well crafted pulling from the original movies and giving the film an incredible plot point that adds a lot more to the series and could prove promising to the rest of the franchise.

Before I round this up two little things, I have to mention the effects in this movie are amazing. For a movie 70% CGI it all feels real and for about 45 minutes this movie is basically a foreign film, it is all subtitled and for a mainstream movie this is a risky move but it never loses the audience and this is an incredible achievement for 2017.

At the end of the day, I was slightly disappointed by this installment but I liked a lot of what it brought to table and I’ll be sad if this is the final movie in this series as this installment does the uncommon thing of leaving the audience wanting more – even 3 movies in.

If you like the rest of the apes franchise this will be a big win for you! This movie is receiving massive critical acclaim – no doubt you’ll find something you like.

 

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