In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.
What We Thought:
I saw War for the Planet of the Apes weeks ago. Since then I’ve read a lot of reviews and heard a lot of talk about how great the movie is. I must have watched a different movie because what I saw was the biggest case of false advertising I’ve seen in a long time.
Let me start by saying I didn’t like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I liked Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but I thought its sequel Dawn just wasn’t good. With this third film in the trilogy, Dawn is completely unnecessary and serves like a very long plot point that you could get rid of completely.
As for the case of false advertising, well, look at that movie poster. Looks pretty awesome right? It does to me. A bunch of human soldiers ready to do battle with thousands of apes, it’s going to be epic right? Wrong. A little bit of spoilers here, but none of that happens in the movie. The soldiers with the words on their helmets are in the beginning, but there are just a handful of them, maybe a platoon’s worth at best. And there are only a handful of apes that fight them. At no point in time during the movie do thousands of apes battle thousands of human soldiers.
The movie is more about escaping concentration camps than it is a war. Humans do battle with humans, but the apes just try to escape. It’s more The Great Escape than it is Hamburger Hill. It all looks very cool, but what war are they talking about?
I will give the film credit for its production. Andy Serkis and the other actors have mastered the CGI/motion capture performances in these movies. Serkis is fantastic as Caesar, I just wish I cared about the movies more. Woody Harrelson adds another eclectic character to his resume, but I sat there uninterested in most of it.
I did like one other aspect of the film. Some more slight spoilers here, but there are a lot of homages and storylines that connect to the original Charlton Heston Planet of the Apes. There is a new ape who wears a puffy vest that’s similar to wardrobe in Heston’s film. And no it has nothing to do with Deray. Also, where this film ends feels like it’s a prequel to the 1968 film. I want to revisit that film now to see what else connects.
War for the Planet of the Apes will see a lot of positive reviews. I personally don’t get it. The last movie made some good money and with the advertising push for this one I expect it to do well too. I’m a giant sci-fi nerd, I honestly wish I liked these movies more. I should like them. I respect the artistry in them, but I just don’t get emotionally attached at all. Oh well.
Cast & Crew:
- Andy Serkis
- Woody Harrelson
- Steve Zahn
Recommended If You Like:
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes
- Planet of the Apes