War for the Planet of the Apes – 4.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

War for the Planet of the Apes – 4.5/5 – Trilogies are marked with a central story or theme that have stark beginnings, middles and ends.  In today’s world of film universes, seeing these kinds of stories span only three films are rare.  When they do happen, they provide an engrossing tale that spurs on an everlasting feeling.  A true trilogy is befitting of growth of story and characters.  The prequel Planet of the Apes trilogy has been mark with a surprised beginning (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and a thought provoking middle (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes).  With this third entry, War for the Planet of the Apes, we come full circle on the seeds that were sown.  An encompassing tale that hits at the survival of a species, this third film brings together everything we expected and much more.  For all that can be said, War for the Planet of the Apes delivers.  This film provides that grand mark of what it means to be a grand trilogy.

Premise: After suffering unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with past and present choices.  With everything on the brink, Caesar must find what it means to be a true hero for his own kind.

Being the third entry, there are a lot of returning characters.  The only new cast are the human soldiers (led by Woody Harrelson’s character The Colonel).  For a complete list, please reference the film’s IMDb page.  The focus on the acting portion of this review will be on Caesar.  Performed in motion capture by Andy Serkis, the depth, growth and flaws of this character have reached a definitive point of development.  Being a CGI created character, watching Caesar’s interactions with other apes and humans is what you would call a true innate connection.  It is a connection that is defined in the central core of human emotion.  You see a struggle within where he is vying for a peaceful solution, but also must deal with unwelcomed rage.  That constant push and pull between mercy, innocence and vengeance breathes relativity for the audience on a conscious level.  It is raw, provocative but pure.  You believe in the struggle, knowing that every word and action has dire consequence for the ape colony and surviving humans.  It is proof of talent seeing the provoking facial expressions, mannerisms and lack of dialogue on screen.  It is a testament to Serkis, the creative department and director for bringing to life a CGI created character and how he carries the story through a multi-façade vision.  This sprinkles through all the ancillary characters as it shows passion, emotion and worth on a delicate scale.  It is befitting to see all the cast have purpose, one that shows a believable world.

The direction is something you find common for trilogies.  Being the third installment, there is a point of emphasize on bringing all plot threads to a conclusion.  At the same time, the script must incorporate it all within an ideal blockbuster.  Being billed as a ‘final chapter’, the film does provide closure while also leveling the uniqueness of the dystopian future.  With Rise and Dawn providing the background elements in the prologue (through the quick overview technique), War must show some purpose in where the apes and human are heading for in this world.  The struggle for survival is put at the forefront of the linear directive, putting much of the story development through the apes.  Through them, you get to see a lot of themes infused with social indifference.  This provides context through an honest approach, allowing for the struggle to hit hard on a personal level.  Trying to find a peaceful place for his colony to live, Caesar holds the burden close to his heart.  When war comes to their doorsteps with several casualties, he is left with a challenge of should they fight or leave for a promising future.  With many layers of conviction, Caesar is left with paths that have finite consequences.  You see a widening blindness in Caesar, as it drives illogical thinking in his once calming presences.  He becomes fueled by a desire to end the humans once in for all.  This struggle puts everything he has worked for on the edge of collapse.  This pulls out the thematic presence of what it means to be at War.  This situation becomes a characterized struggle for all who are involved, bringing everything together.  This creates the direction that strikes heavy on expositional elements, fluid dialogue, empowering interactions and methodical pacing.  This allows for each scene to flow seamlessly and drive home that monumental ideal of ‘who we are’ at the core of our being.  The irony comes in how the apes become more important than humans.  The virus (that was introduced in the first film) has continued to evolve through the years.  This ‘MacGuffin’ plot device has provided a central point that shows the ongoing fight of thought, emotions and worth on a grand scale.  This seeps deep, providing a constant juggling act where neither side is right or wrong.  It boils down to empathy and choice.  You see how Caesar is constantly battling his past choices while trying to stay true to his current goals.  He is trying to find that middle ground, especially when confronting the human soldiers.  The gravitas of this characterization is what makes the story a thrilling experience.  This movie provides proof that you do not need explosions, over-the-top action sequences or ‘forced’ plot points to create entertainment.  By directing a film with strong characters, honest storytelling and poignant themes, you can create something better for the viewing audience.  Once we head into the climax, it is endearment on a simple level.  This climax provides a revelation that shows how choices of honorable nature provides a lasting effect.  It is a predictable trope using epiphany, but it hits strong at the core purpose of Caesar’s story.  The epilogue is obvious but welcome as it provides a finite end in a new beginning for what is to come.

The visuals are beyond the imagination.  For all the lush and naturalistic landscapes used for the locales, it is the creation of the apes that grab you.  Watching the interaction, facial experience and emotional veracity on screen, you will be hard press not to believe it is real.  The CGI is so delicate, everything from the eyes to the flowing hair is created with precise and fine detail.  It is breathtaking to see how moving a CGI created ape can be, and it is testament to how amazing a job the visual department did on this project.  It is simply beyond any fantastical creation that they can provide that deep of realism through computer graphics.  The score is very moving, but common for what these films have produced in the previous iterations.  It is very generic resounding score, helping add some value to the film.

War for the Planet of the Apes is a endearing, thought-provoking masterpieces.  Providing a complete closure to Caesar’s chapter in this world, it hits hard at what it means to have a journey.  If you’re a fan of the previous films, enjoy trilogies or like simply good character stories, this is one for you.  This is worth the full price of admission, go see this in theaters while you can.

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