Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes saw a new energy instilled into the incredible tale of humanity versus ape-kind. Does the culmination of the reboot trilogy do this legacy justice, or does it wobble like so many third outings?
Rest assured, there’s nothing wobbly here – War for the Planet of the Apes is magnificent.
A couple of years after the events of Dawn, Caesar (Andy Serkis) and surviving followers are getting by in the woods. Patrolling soldiers from a military faction called Alpha-Omega discover them, however, and an intense battle ensues. The apes capture some of the opposing fighters, but release them as a sign of goodwill to the humans. Ah, but Caesar hasn’t encountered A.O. leader The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) yet. He’s a heartless war beast, who takes this peaceful act as a sign of weakness and attacks the apes’ camp, with grave results.
While Caesar sends the surviving apes on a quest to relocate across the desert, his heart is filled with vengeance. Accompanied by the fiercely loyal Maurice, Luca and Rocket, he sets out to track down the Colonel and exact revenge, with many a run-in – friend and foe – along the way. But is Caesar becoming all that he detests in humanity?
Beyond the incredible action and amazing score, War for the Planet of the Apes oozes heart, as well as subtle-yet-substantial insight into the nature – and ultimate futility – of war.
Then there’s the fact that this is possibly the greatest special effects spectacle ever to make it to a screen – there’s no doubting for a moment that these apes are real (even though they’re not, obviously). That as humans we still find ourselves siding with the apes speaks volumes for Weta Digital’s stunning achievement in (e)motion capture. Although Woody Harrelson playing an utter bastard also helps…
In cinemas: July 27, 2017
Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval
Directed by: Matt Reeves