War for the Planet of the Apes is now in theaters and once again a film with a cast made up of entirely digital characters has managed to pack in more emotional moments that most movies about real humans and situations. Andy Serkis is a legend due to his stint as Caeser, and he once again shows us why he’ll go down as the first and probably greatest CGI actor of all-time. Hollywood, give this guy his due already!
You can check out the full review below via the embedded video or script, and remember, apes together, strong.
Hey now my fellow Man-apes, Matt Heywood here to review War for the Planet of the Apes, which culminates the Planet of the Apes reboot trilogy of excellence.
There will be no major plot spoilers present in this review.
War for the Planet of the Apes concludes the rather excellent Apes trilogy starring Andy Serkis as Ceaser, and like the two films before it, this finale is a tour de force in cinematography and CGI characters, which at this point look and feel just as real as the human actors playing human characters.
What Serkis and the WETA team have done in these films is phenomenal, and it’s a crime that Andy hasn’t been recognized in Hollywood for his work with fully animated characters, because his performance as Caeser in War, as well as the previous two Apes reboots, is just as good, if not better than most actors winning Oscars and Golden Globe for standard roles.
He and the other Ape actors are why this rebooted franchise has been so intoxicating and full of emotion, because they’re able to bring a believability to the apes that makes them feel alive and human-like, which is doubly amazing when you consider that what you’re looking at is all computer code on the screen and an animal, not a human.
War for the Planet of the Apes continues the tradition of the other two films by making you, a human, feel strong emotions about another species. In this case the apes. At times I felt horrible over what was happening to Caeser and his fellow apes that I wished they had a nuke to drop on the human forces waging war on them, who are led by Woody Harrelson’s Colonel character.
Watching the human led forces root out and hunt down Caeser and his apes was akin to watching people abusing their pets or animals in a zoo. You just feel awful for the apes even though you’re a human and you know you’re watching your own race become extinct, albeit in a fictional world.
Thanks to how well the character of Caeser and his top advisors have been played to this point, it’s easy to understand why your body and mind feel for them on a human level in War for the Planet of the Apes. You feel like you’re watching your friends, or closest relatives get persecuted and treated like slaves, or sub-humans. Certain parts of this film are almost like watching a World War II movie that features the mistreatment and extermination of the Jews. That’s how vividly my emotions reacted to certain scenes in this film where the apes were being persecuted for just being apes.
Again, this emotional resonance to a movie about Apes and the extinction of the human race just goes to show how great of a film and trilogy this Planet of the Apes reboot has been. The main apes feel like close friends that you’ve watched grow and evolve into civilized beings, especially Caeser, who in War is a much different character than we’ve known him to be.
Due to a horrific event that takes place early on, this once level-headed leader of the apes goes a bit rogue, which was interesting to watch since we’ve only known him to be wise and patient. He finally lets his emotions get the best of him, which in turn teaches him and his apes a disastrous lesson. Parallels to Koba can definitely be made in terms of how Caeser’s mindset has changed in War, so he’s no longer the peace seeking dignitary we’ve know him to be. He has been broken, which provides for another fantastic tour of his emotional progression in War, while also cementing himself and Serkis’ performance as legendary film icons.
War for the Planet of the Apes, like the first two Apes reboots, is just a work of art, which is saying a ton considering most of the cast are computer generated apes. Thanks to the brilliant acting performances and masterful special effects and cinematography though, realizing these now iconic ape characters as beings on the same level as humans is simple. This is what allows someone like myself to lose themselves in a movie like this, while also experiencing real life emotions for computer generated apes that rival those reserved for actual human beings that I care about. This movie is raw emotionally, and it will tug on your heart strings, which just goes to show you how well the film was made.
Therefore, I can without a doubt confidently give this film a 9 our of 10 rating. It definitely deserves a screening while in theaters to experience the brilliance of its production. It should also be seen with friends and family, because you will walk out of it appreciating them more than ever, while still reeling about what you just saw. Do yourself a favor and check out War for the Planet of the Apes as soon as you finish watching this review, or the closest reasonable time you can head out to a theater. And remember the words of the great ape Caeser when you head out to see it – Apes together, strong.
Now if only us humans could realize the same thing.
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Review Statement: The author of this review paid for a Dolby Cinema screening for the purposes of this review.