Hail, Caesar | Review of ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’


By Cynthia Ayala

War for the Planet of the Apes starring Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson & Steve Zahn
20th Century Fox
Image Credit: IMDB

“After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.” —IMDB

Wow. The Planet of the Apes franchise that Matt Reeves and team have given birth too is one so remarkable not only because it gives insight into the past but because it is systematically setting up the world fans know all about. But there is also a progression to the story line, a way it moves forward from the first film and develops those aspects from the first film. The series itself has led up to this amazing moment where it builds the characters, where it builds the story to this moment. There was no other way for the story to go, no other direction that would have felt so emotional and so grounded in reality as this franchise. It’s an amazing film that has the audience rooting against the humans and rooting for the apes.

The journey that Caesar has gone through in the franchise doesn’t seem to compare to the growth he goes through in this film alone, and it’s truly astounding how Caesar grows in this film alone. There is a grim tone set for this film where humans and apes are in war, where the struggle for survival is at its strongest, and where Caesar must struggle with his own darkness. That’s part of what makes this film so incredible the realism in the development making this film the strongest. Andy Serkis is such an amazing actor and it is my belief that no one could have played the role as powerfully as he has. He has a resonance, an ability that allows him to truly capture this complex character and bring him to life.

Given the complex characters, the story is very straight forward. Simplistic would be the wrong word entirely, but it’s so seamless how it tells the story and how it connects back to beginning, evolving the very foundation of the film and the franchise. It’s evocative and beautiful how it connects to the beginning and how it focuses on the humanity of the apes and the loss of humanity the humans have suffered in their struggle for survival and rebirth of the virus that killed them all. There’s nothing outlandish about this film and how it grows. It stays realistic and maintains a powerful film not just because of Serkis’s phenomenal acting but because of the phenomenal storytelling.

There is no other way to say that this film is amazing. The acting, the storytelling and the special effects, together they make such a powerful film, they make this film one to be remembered, one to sit the audience and make them wonder about humanity and what it really means. (★★★★ | A+)

—Film Credits—

Directed by Matt Reeves

Written by Mark Bomback & Matt Reeves

Based on Characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver

Starring: Andy Serkis, Karin Konoval, Amiah Miller, Terry Notary, Woody Harrelson & Steve Zahn

Rating | Length | Genre: PG-13 | 2h 20min | ActionAdventureDrama

Distributed by 20th Century Fox

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