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 of their species and the future of the planet.
Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Gabriel Chavarria, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer
Rated PG-13 rating is for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, thematic elements, and some disturbing images
Release Date: Jul 14, 2017
Matt Reeves War for Planet of the Apes is a strong finish to the rebooted prequel. The story is deeply layered, borrowing from multiple sources including The Searchers, Apocalypse Now and the book of Exodus. Needless to say, there is a lot going on in the script, it’s dense emotionally and touching. It’s a rare summer blockbuster that puts the spectacle on the back burner for smaller quieter moments focused on character development and story arches. The story is so strong that you can start to overlook the level of digital wizardry on display with the ape characters. They are totally convincing throughout the film and this entry in particular puts them front and center with the human characters taking a backseat. Andy Serkis once again proves that’s he’s the most underappreciated actor working now by delivering another impressive motion capture performance. He’s the heart and soul of the film and it is impossible to not get emotionally invested in his characters journey. Steve Zahn joins him as Bad Ape who provides some much needed comic relief here and there. Zahn proves to be just as capable as Serkis because he does provide some depth to the character that could have been easily one dimensional. Woody Harrelson is the primary human villain and he’s used sparing as the Coronel Kurtz knock off. It’s probably for the best since he’s chewing scenery at impressive pace. There are a few pacing issues in spots where the film seems to lag a bit. Additionally, some of the biblical allegory is a tad heavy handed for my taste. A bit more subtleness would have helped the film. That being said, Matt Reeves closed out his trilogy on a strong note and brings the characters story to a satisfying ending.