War for the Planet of the Apes is the conclusion to a trilogy that breathed new life into a franchise that hit somewhat of a low 10 years before with the lackluster Tim Burton remake. This third installment is a perfect and satisfying ending to the monumental trilogy. The trilogy follows the chimpanzee Caesar (Andy Serkis) and the journey he goes on with his community of apes.
The film starts off two years after the events of the previous installment Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Caesar’s apes are at war with a military faction known as Alpha-Omega led by The Colonel (Woody Harrelson). The opening scene is the faction’s unsuccessful attack on the ape’s base. Some humans are captured along with a gorilla named Red (Ty Olsoon) who followed the chimpanzee Koba (Toby Kebbell) in the previous film and has since betrayed the apes that follow Caesar after he killed Koba. Caesar sends the humans back to the base in order to show mercy and seek peace with the fraction. Events transpire that cause Caesar to seek and hunt down The Colonel for the remainder of the film.
This film is an emotional masterpiece in every way. The film has brilliantly crafted moments of emotion and still delivers thrilling action. The motion capture and look of the apes is magnificent and startling. The settings and landscape of the film are gorgeous. The score, cinematography and editing are all beautifully precise. Matt Reeves continues to show how special he is as a filmmaker. Serkis is once again spectacular as Caesar. His performance in this trilogy is one of the most significant in the history of cinema. Harrelson is nothing short of spine-chilling in the entire film. The two produce such powerful and haunting scenes together including a sequence towards the end of the film that is sure to stick with many audience members. Amiah Miller also shines as a young child who Caesar and his apes adopt during their journey. Steve Zahn provides some comic relief as an ape named Bad Ape, but he never hurts the film.
The film is a brutal war story with old fashion western elements sprinkled throughout the narrative. Caesar’s character arc is reminiscent of John Wayne in The Searchers with his inner struggles and demons. The film features several powerful allegorical images and scenes reminiscent of the holocaust and slavery. War for the Planet of the Apes is one of the best films of the year and rivals the original for top spot in the franchise. The film is a vivid, dark and beautiful ending to an all-time great trilogy.
Written by: James Howey
War for the Planet of the Apes is playing in a theater near you.
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 of their species and the future of the planet.