Review: War For The Planet Of The Apes (No Spoilers)

By Angel

Movie Description: “After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.”

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Experience

I walked out of this movie wanting to legitimately become an ape, that’s how immersed I was in the film. APES. TOGETHER. STRONG. This is a perfect example of a movie that contains an immense amount of focus on character while also having a great scale atmosphere. I loved this movie because I got so many different emotional responses to it such as laughs, tears, shock, sadness, and hope. It was a beautiful movie. Let’s get started!

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Story

I was immediately hooked from the opening as it showed credits that described the events of the first and second film which are also fantastic. All those events led to the consequences of this story in which a colonel is trying to wipe out Caesar’s colony of apes with his military. It was all out war and felt so brutal, almost hard to watch which makes this narrative so compelling because the filmmakers made me really care for these apes, especially Caesar. Due to the war, something tragic happens that leads the protagonist to go on a journey which I completely supported. It’s that feeling of empathy I had for him that made me understand why he needed to complete his quest.

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The conflict was really interesting because there was a physical threat and an internal threat within Caesar. He was still traumatized from the events with Koba and trying to find a way to protect his people without becoming a beast. Seeing him battle his damaged ideology and trying to overcome that obstacle felt so human, that’s why he was captivating. The dialogue in the movie paved the way for me to think that Caesar is one of the greatest characters in cinema, I love him! The evolution of his character from birth to this film is fascinating and his transformation made complete sense. Although I do think the pacing was not a tight as the first or second one, this was a powerful and emotional conclusion to a wonderful trilogy.

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Performance

Andy Serkis steals the entire movie because he owns every scene that he’s in. He delivers an immense amount of emotional depth to Caesar that I believe everything that the character is going through. The choices he makes as an actor under all that motion capture technology is always surprising. There is so much rich listening in his body language and eyes, it comes across as instinctual because that’s how much concentration he brings to the role. One of the best performances of the year for me.

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I was extremely excited to see Woody Harrelson in this movie as the antagonist, he was really good as this demented man. When it came to his character, like all villains, the most important thing to understand about them is WHY they are doing what they are doing. Great villains believe what they are doing is right, that’s what makes them interesting. Woody Harrelson had a solid motivation, but the tension was taken away from his character as soon as I realized they gave him one scene just purely for exposition. The exposition felt formulaic, which isn’t a bad thing, it just felt structured and less striking as it could have been.

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I loved Steve Zahn as Bad Ape, but I do feel like his character being used for comedic relief was distracting at times from the bleak nature of this movie. I love the opportunities of direction his character can take the entire series moving forward. All the actors who played the apes were phenomenal. The motion capture team is the best in the business because I kept having to convince my mind that these apes were not real! The majority of the performances were just exceptional.

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Cinematography

To me, great cinematography is when the visuals are contributing to the storytelling. A film should SHOW us what’s going on rather than tell us. When it comes to analyzing cinematography, simply, I ask myself, “Was this film nice to look at?” Then I can choose to get in depth and look for whether colors were symbolic, placement of characters in the frame, composition, lighting, shadows, and point of view.

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Was this a nice film to look at….ABSOLUTELY. This is the most gorgeous looking Planet Of The Apes movie of all time. The shots and scenery were jaw dropping. The cinematographer managed to capture a sense of desolation, bleakness, and underlying compassion all at the same time.

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Music

Michael Giacchino can make some of the greatest soundtracks ever, for example UP. Recently, he’s been doing a lot of projects and his music is starting to sound repetitive. Man if only Giacchino made a score this superb for the Spider-Man movie! The soundtrack for War For The Planet Of The Apes was absolute perfection.

Message

The lesson I got from this film: The feeling of hate is a mistake that should not be embraced by an individual because it increases impulsivity, reduces clarity, and blocks the flow of wisdom from your higher self. Be a positive voice for leadership. Vengeance gets us nowhere. The majority of the characters in this film are apes so it made me ask myself, “what does it mean to be human?” Human in this film is anyone who exhibits specific qualities of soul such as intelligence, courage, and kindness. With those virtuous characteristics, we can avoid culture clash.

Overall

Everyone should go see this epic story because it’s important for our generation right now. History repeats itself due to awful ideologies rooted from hatred. We need to eliminate hatred by teaching each other how to empathize and communicate like civilized people. It’s movies like this that I absolutely love because who would have ever thought we could learn from fictional characters such as apes?! War For The Planet Of The Apes had a gripping story, amazing performances, spectacular cinematography, captivating characters, music that’ll give you goosebumps, thrilling conflicts, and a thought provoking message that should encourage us to be better humans. My rating for this film is 9/10! 🙂

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“Caesar is home.”

Grade: A

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