War for the Planet of the Apes a fitting end for a fantastic trilogy

When first announced, it was considered pointless, unnecessary. However, the revamped Planet of the Apes trilogy ticks off all the boxes in today’s cinematic standards. The latest release, War for the Planet of the Apes, is a fitting end to the trilogy. With an opening box office weekend of $102.5 million and a score of 83/100 on metacritic, War for the Planet of the Apes looks to be the most successful and widely regarded as the best in the trilogy.

What stood out for me in this film more than the previous two was the soundtrack. While I haven’t watched the 1968 Planet of the Apes film in a very long time, I could hear the inspiration of the original film in the background of many of the tense scenes in particular. I couldn’t put my finger on which parts of the movies had the soundtrack mixed together, but in the opening half hour alone, my attention turned to the music, and I got the nostalgic feeling of the 1968 film.

Obviously, it wasn’t the soundtrack that gave this film such a high rating, it was the storytelling and the CGI, which I might add is getting scary good. Many of my good friend on twitter pointed out the fantastic work by Andy Serkis, bringing Caesar to life.

I don’t disagree with them, I believe Serkis should be nominated for some sort of award for his outstanding work as Caesar throughout the trilogy, and War for the Planet of the Apes might just be his best work since he played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy years ago.

What hooked me on this film (and the whole trilogy for that matter) is the emotional rollercoaster that flows through the entire film. If there’s anything that this trilogy has done right, it’s been to grab at the heart strings and show the true heartbreak that comes with war and conflict. War for the Planet of the Apes cranks that notch to eleven compared to the first two films, and while I’m never much of an emotional person when it comes to watching a movie, it almost, almost got a little dusty in the theatre in a few parts. Without giving too much away, this movie is very much a revenge story for Caesar, and I felt the heartbreak, the anger that consumes him and carries the plot for the movie.

Another thing that was a nice change of scenery from the past two films was the comic relief brought in by Steve Zahn’s ‘Bad Ape.’ Despite some pretty dark moments in the film, Bad Ape provided the movie with some lighter moments in the midst of pure destruction. It was a minor part in the movie, but something that was welcomed.

While the second film centers in more on conflict between apes, War for the Planet of the Apes returns to the first film, where there’s more action between humans and apes. Much like the first film, Caesar and company are accompanied by a human, in this case, a little girl, who puts the entire plot and conflict into perspective. Woody Harrelson was a fantastic villain in this movie, and like most films in this day and age, wasn’t just a bad dude. The reason why he does what he does makes quite a lot of sense, and while it’s not all politically correct, you can see the angle he’s coming from, and resonate with some of the things he’s saying. However, much like Caesar, hate and revenge consumes him and brings him to make some questionable choices. This all comes to a head in the final act of the film.

In terms of directing, Matt Reeves did a fantastic job of living up to some pretty high standards set by the first two films, and the cinematography beautifully displayed the tragedy and brutality of war. For DC fans, this film should be a sign of good things to come, as Reeves is set to direct the stand-alone Batman film, which is still in pre-production.

SPOILER ALERT AHEAD, DO NOT CONTINUE READING UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN THE FILM

Okay, so one thing I didn’t quite get in the direction of the film was the usage of Gabriel Chavarria as ‘Preacher,’ A.K.A. the soldier with the crossbow who we’re introduced to at the beginning of the film.  He’s spared by Caesar in the first battle, sent back to the Colonel as a message of peace, and he’s the one who puts the final arrow into our protagonist? Maybe it’s a metaphor that humans will always seek global dominance as the lead species, but to me it would’ve seemed more fitting if Preacher turned on the Colonel, who was doing some pretty dictator-like things to the apes who spared Preacher in the first place. Nonetheless, the sequence where Preacher is about to end Caesar before he gets blown to bits by Donkey (who ends up being the traitor in the end, I guess) just seemed out of place for me.

Another thing that my pal Hayden Trupish pointed out after seeing the film on our podcast was the film was slightly predictable, notably when The Colonel is talking about how he had to kill his son because of the Simian Flu/Primal thing that consumed him, to most it seems pretty obvious that The Colonel too would contract this virus before the film ends. I’m pretty oblivious to this kinda stuff, but looking back now, it does seem pretty predictable.

Also, wasn’t that army at the end of the movie a slight bit of overkill? The attack choppers, thousands upon thousands of men charging the base. Where did all those guys come from? How did they all survive the flu? It seems like it’s not fully a ‘Planet of the Apes’ if there’s still military-style armies rolling around by the thousands with air-defence missiles waiting for them. And then one avalanche wipes the whole army out? Sure.

Like the past two films, this movie doesn’t give much context to the worldwide situation regarding the Simian flu or James Franco’s character. Obviously, the epidemic began in San Francisco, and spread across the United States and into North America as a whole. But what about Europe? Africa? Asia? None of the films really give context as to how the rest of the world handled the situation. Obviously, the apes across the water can’t be lead by Caesar, are they just left watching as the whole world slowly dies out from this epidemic? Plus, the ending is slightly open-ended, and while I don’t want another trilogy or a movie to follow this one, it still leaves that slight doubt that there could be trouble in paradise for the Apes that do find their paradise.

AND I CAN’T NOT FIND OUT ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO JAMES FRANCO. I DON’T CARE IF HE’S NOT A HUGE PLOT POINT, JUST TELL ME HOW HIS PART OF THE STORY ENDS.

It’s something I’ll probably never know, but it will bug me every time I watch these films.

SPOILER ALERT ENDS

Overall, War for the Planet of the Apes is an emotional, fitting end to the trilogy, and the best film of the three. Though there is some predictability and not enough context to some plot points, the movie in general is a great experience whether you’ve watched the first two films or not.

7.5/10

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