Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn
Guns out for Harambe
Usually I’m very skeptic whenever I hear of a well-known film franchise getting the reboot treatment. This is especially true in regard to the Planet of the Apes thanks in part….well actually, mostly due to Tim Burton’s 2001 clusterfuck which was worse than the worst sequel from the original series.
But to my surprise and delight, both Dawn and Rise of the Planet, were exceptionally handled with care and nuance. Now comes perhaps the bookend of the rebooted film series; War for the Planet of The Apes!
In the 3rd chapter that concludes from the last sequel, Caesar and his collective group of likeminded simians find themselves hopelessly ambushed. As a result, there is a tragic consequence that leads the main protagonist embarking on a quest for vengeance.
If there’s one gripe I may have with this sequel is some of its predictability and a few tropes. I won’t go into spoiler territory but anyone who is either perceptive or have seen enough movies can predict some outcomes here and there.
As they say: “The writing is on the wall”!
One may feel slightly misled by the title “War” because it’s not all guns blazing accompanied by hyper violence that panders to the ADHD demographic instead, War is a clever war drama filled with great performances by Andy Serkis, Steve Zahn and Woody Harrelson as “The Colonial”. Each of the three characters differentiated from the other from Caesar being the tragic hero revolutionary to the comedic relief by Zahn’s “Bad Ape” who balanced out the nihilistic events of the narrative.
While Harrelson’s Colonel is not your average one note villain. His reasoning behind what he does, may make sense to some but overall, his actions are cruel and is devoid of any compassion whatsoever.
All of human history has lead to this moment. The irony is we created you. And nature has been punishing us ever since. This is our last stand. And if we lose… it will be a Planet of Apes.
War, what is it good for?
As with the original POTA series and most Science Fiction movies in general, War is rich with social commentary and it unapologetically shows! I don’t have to be some sort of social activist to notice the political allegories: i.e. the slaughter of Native Americans Nazi labor camps and of course, slavery! There’s one despicable character who has all the traits of an Uncle Tom who is beyond redemption or is he? Reeves pretty much covered all bases with the aforementioned metaphors including fear, hatred jingoism and ignorance and to drive the narrative further, he snuck in a few symbolic imagery like flag burning, the black power fist gestures and even an.underground railroad!
This closing chapter gives its share of nods to the original films courtesy of a few Easter eggs- easy to spot. That’s if you have watched most of the POTA films. Even some of Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack harkens to the classic series.
I for one, liked how Reeves threw a “Monkeywrench” into the evolution of the series via detailing the course of the virus and what’s tantamount toward the plotline. Mostly offering an explanation as to why the once intelligent human species has devolved into mindless cattle. (Think: 1968’s Planet of the Apes ) And the mysterious girlis integral to this particular sub plot device.
If you like a well-paced dystopian drama without relying on bells and whistles, you can’t go wrong with War for POTA. Go Ape!
You can find a review from our protegete, Stu right here!