War for the Planet of the Apes Review: Ape-ocalypse Now

War for the Planet of the Apes

Released: July 14, 2017

Director: Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)

Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn

War for the Planet of the Apes is the third film in the rebooted Planet of the Apes prequel series. The earlier entries, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have brought back the interest in the nearly 50 year old franchise and I can happily say that War for the Planet of the Apes continues to keep the same level of quality. If this is truly the final movie in this saga it will go down as one of the strongest trilogies of all time. Its probably the best one since The Dark Knight trilogy.

So, War picks up about 2 years after Dawn and the war between the remainder of the human race and the apes is in full swing. The leader of the apes is Caesar (Andy Serkis) and the leader of the remaining humans is known simply as the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) and their rivalry will continue to strengthen over the film.

I will admit that War may not have been the best choice for the title of the film because apart from the opening scene there aren’t really many war scenes. There is definitely some inspiration taken from some war related films (notably The Great Escape) but the title may be promising something totally different from what it gives. That doesn’t make the film any less great but I thought it would be fair to adjust your expectations early just so you know what you are getting.

I have to applaud this movie for making the film revolve more around the apes than the humans. In Rise James Franco was still the star and in Dawn Jason Clarke was definitely the main character. This time Caesar is the main character and his struggle is something that the audience can empathize with. Caesar is stuck in the middle of a war that he didn’t ask for and his world comes crumbling down because of it. Andy Serkis completely delivers once again in a motion capture role and the Caesar character is in the forefront as he should be. Steve Zahn is great in a motion capture role too. His character is known simply as Bad Ape but that ape adds a lot of little humorous moments which is needed for a dark film like this.

Woody Harrelson is a villain that becomes a pretty strong character as well. He is just doing whatever he can to ensure the survival of humanity and if he needs to slaughter a few apes to do it he will. There are some really great moments between the Colonel and Caesar that blossoms into a really strong conflict.

The ending left me a little curious about whether this is the finale or not. The ending is fairly final and it would make sense to end here but there is something that makes me think that Matt Reeves isn’t done yet. There is one major tie in with the original Charlton Heston movie so it could be possible that there is still one more movie that could fill that gap but Matt Reeves commitment to the upcoming Batman movie could mean that he wouldn’t be involved in this franchise anymore.

This is the only Apes movie that I’ve been able to see in theater so it has a bit of an advantage. I might consider it to be the best in the series but its tough to say as I haven’t seen the other two movies in a few years. I recommend that you go out and check out War for the Planet of the Apes because these movies are the ideal blockbusters and they should be supported.

War for the Planet of the Apes gets 89 out of 100.