Expectations are a funny thing, especially when it comes to movies. When a movie is announced that peaks our interest there are immediate expectations attached to the film. From genre conventions, to comparisons, to similar previous films, and even the title of the movie. With a title like WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, I assumed that this would movie would be filled with action sequences and explosions. However, Matt Reeves (who directed the film) gives us something more nuanced. The film is not a war film; it’s the last chapter of a trilogy which dissects the psyche of one of the greatest characters ever brought to life on film. War was what I expected, but an emotional masterpiece is what I got.
Let’s break it down, starting with another Oscar worthy performance from the king of motion capture himself, Andy Serkis. The performance he gives is arguably his best as we see Caesar face his toughest challenges as a leader and the movie explores his mind in ways we’ve never seen before. Gollum may be the more iconic role but Caesar is without a doubt the better performance.
Serkis may be the captain of the ship, however every single supporting actor brings their A Game. Woody Harrelson is both tragic and terrifying as the leader of the human faction. Steve Zahn as Bad Ape is one of the best surprises and had me laughing in almost every scene he is in. Every single ape is well realized and, when the moment calls for it, delivers that emotional punch that you would want from a character drama.
A huge round of applause as well to all the guys at Weta digital who were able to create these incredible photo realistic effects. This film is a technical marvel and every single shot in the film is gorgeous. The weather also plays a huge part in the story, as this is the first time we see the apes in a winter setting and seeing all the snow on their fur looks so real. It’s an unbelievable job and they deserve all the praise for their hard work.
Another person worthy of praise is Michael Giacchino for his score. This is by far the best score in an Apes film and so many moments are built around the great music as there really isn’t a lot of dialogue in the film. Most of the apes communicate through sign language and when you have these moments of silence it really makes you appreciate the music all the more.
I don’t know what the future holds for this franchise. But as it stands, this trilogy has joined the ranks as one of the great trilogies of all time. Caesar’s story is an emotional masterpiece that blends incredible performances with the most advanced technology to bring to life the Planet of the Apes in a way no one has seen before. If you haven’t seen the series, I recommend you have an Apes marathon soon. But if you have seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, then War of the Planet of the Apes is definitely a must see this summer.
All Hail Caesar!