Plot: Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel (Woody Harrelson). After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.
Review: War for the Planet of the Apes is the concluding film in the rebooted Planet of the Apes series, culminating in an epic movie that feels mammoth while simultaneously feeling intimate. The movie is 140 minutes long but interestingly enough about 3/4 of the running time is spent with no dialogue.
War for the Planet of the Apes is essentially a silent movie, but it is an incredible film that has tension, emotion and leaves you on the edge of your seat.
Director Matt Reeves’s takes the impressive work he did on Dawn for the Planet of the Apes, and allows the story to focus on Caesar even more than the previous film, and in doing so, only allows the film to be better for it.
If the first movies, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was about Ceasar getting smart, and the second about Caesar becoming a leader, this one is about him becoming a legend. It also lays the groundwork for the ‘68 PLANET OF THE APES, and gives us some real clues into how Earth actually became the planet of the apes.
The movie is a wonderful examination of what it means to be human, despite making humans the aggressors and the predominant threat in these films. The movie too can be a wonderful allegory and metaphor for a variety of issues as colourism, racism, colonialism and even has some biblical inspirations too that can be found in the film.
The performances of the film are truly impressive, with War for the Planet of the Apes being Serkis’s vehicle all the way.
With Caesar fully verbal at this point, we don’t need humans and by making his character the protagonist it gives the audience a clear indication as for who we’re supposed to be rooting for. Serkis is the key, giving a performance as Caesar that will undoubted bring up the conversation about whether he deserves an Oscar and whether or not mo-cap performances should be considered for Oscars.
If you think not - then you may need to reevaluate that stance by watching this movie because Serkis's performance is just that good.
War for the Planet of the Apes is one of the best CGI put on screen, helped by the mo-cap actors, including Steve Zahn, who contributes perhaps the only moments of comedy as “Bad Ape”, and Karin Konoval as Maurice. The apes are rounded out by a non-verbal human survivor, Amiah Miller’s Nova, who the Apes rescue on their journey.
The performances that the actors are able to convey with the least amount of dialogue possible is extremely commendable. Some the best moments of the film are when no words are used.
As the antagonist, Harrelson’s performance is one of the best of his career, as he gives his character some unexpected depth that stopped him from becoming a villain with no purpose, or with one that was too simplistic and trivial. He’s certainly the villain, but he doesn’t think he is, and Harrelson draws on his talent in a way that he doesn't always.
The movie could have been roughly 10 minutes shorter, and still achieved the exact same effect that it did, but given the impressive visuals, directing and performances it is honestly a small complaint in otherwise enjoyable film.
War for the Planet of the Apes is definitely a film worth spending the trip and money to the movies for.