Hello, fellow moviegoers!
War for the Planet of the Apes is directed by Matt Reeves, and it stars Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, and Terry Notary. It's the third film in the new Planet of the Apes series. As war rages between humans and apes, Caesar and his tribe of apes look for a new home so that they can escape the war and live in peace. However, when tragedy comes in the form of "The Colonel", a ruthless military man set on destroying the apes, Caesar will do what he must to protect his family.
War for the Planet of the Apes was everything that I wanted and hoped it would be. It's a fantastic conclusion to this new Planet of the Apes trilogy, and there's a legitimate argument to be made that this is the best one yet. Over the course of these three films, we've been following the ape, Caesar. His story over the course of these three films is undoubtedly an epic in every sense of the word. I'm a sucker for a good character arc, and the arc that Caesar goes on, not just in this film, but over the course of the trilogy, is one of the best I've seen in a while. War for the Planet of the Apes is the third chapter in that arc, and it undoubtedly lives up to the expectations set by the first two.
Can we just give Andy Serkis an Oscar already? From film to film, whether it be as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings, or as Caesar in these films, he always gives powerhouse performances. War for the Planet of the Apes is no exception. His performance as Caesar in this film might just be his best in the role yet. It certainly rivals the performance he gave in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Even though we never see his face, he manages to bring such a sense of depth and emotion to his character. We understand Caesar's pain and emotion even when he's not saying anything, and that's entirely due to Serkis's skill as an actor.
This film introduced several new characters into this trilogy in the form of Steve Zahn's Bad Ape and Amiah Miller's Nova. When those characters were introduced in the film, I found myself wondering what their purpose was in the narrative. I couldn't think of a reason for them to be there. Although, as the film went on, their characters started to make more and more sense, and by the end, I completely understood the need for them in a film like this. From a narrative and emotional perspective, the characters of Bad Ape and Nova were necessities for this story, and they end up being a key part of what made this movie great.
My only gripe with this movie is a minor one that comes with the character of Bad Ape. Bad Ape was a strange character, and often his strangeness leads to comedic moments. Moments which are necessary to serve as a bit of comedic relief, because this film has a very serious and dark tone, even more so than either of its predecessors. However, there was a moment or two where Bad Ape's humor felt out of place. It seemed to not fit with the tone of the scene it was in. Thankfully though, that only happened once or twice, so it's a very minor flaw.
There are three people that I would consider to be stars of this film that we actually never see on camera. Those three people are director Matt Reeves, cinematographer Michael Seresin, and composer Michael Giacchino. Matt Reeves, who also directed Dawn, proves in this film that his directing is a force to be reckoned with. He knows how to tell a good story, and he knows how to handle complex characters. Reeves is undoubtedly on his way to becoming one of the best working directors out there. His next project will be The Batman for Warner Bros, so this guy is definitely someone to watch. From the moment this film started, the incredible cinematography was apparent. There are many different shots in this film that I can imagine being framed on somebody's wall. However, the cinematography never became distracting. It was fantastic all the way through, but it never actually took you out of the movie. It added to the story being told, and that's when cinematography is at its best. Finally, the score composed by Michael Giacchino was brilliant. Similarly to the cinematography, it worked extremely well and added to the story, but it never became distracting. These films have a very simplistic score, but it works extremely well with the tone. While the direction, cinematography, and score are all great on their own, when you put them together you get something truly special.
I've said all of these amazing things about this film, but I haven't even gotten to arguably the most impressive thing, not just with this film, but with this Planet of the Apes trilogy as a whole, the visual effects. The visual effects by Weta Digital are absolutely breathtaking. I'm sure you've heard it time and time again, but the apes in these films look photorealistic. You believe these are actually apes walking around, riding horses, and talking with one another. I'm not sure if these visual effects ever top those of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but they certainly match them, and that's a feat in and of itself. The visual effects of Dawn, and now of War for the Planet of the Apes, are some of the best visual effects ever to be put on the big screen. Even if you're not interested in the story of these films, the visual effects alone are reason enough to watch this whole trilogy.
As the credits started to roll at the end of War for the Planet of the Apes, I found that myself and most other people in the audience just sat there for what felt like a solid minute, speechless. I'll have to see this film several more times before I make a decision as to which is better, but this is the only other film that I've seen so far this year that I believe gives Logan a run for its money. War for the Planet of the Apes might very well be the best movie of the year so far. If it's not the best movie of the year so far, it's definitely a solid second. War for the Planet of the Apes is a brilliant conclusion to the new Planet of the Apes trilogy. These three films, Rise, Dawn, and now War for the Planet of the Apes, have become one of the best trilogies of the 21st century, and, in my opinion, it's one that's definitely in the discussion for all time. I absolutely loved War for the Planet of the Apes, and it's a film that you have to see in theaters. These films are an experience, and you'll want to see it on the big screen.
So what did you think of War for the Planet of the Apes? How does it compare to Rise and Dawn for you? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter, it really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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