War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes

War For The Planet Of The Apes

2017.  Directed by Matt Reeves.

By Brian Wallinger. 

The third and final entry in Matt Reeves' chronicle of intelligent simian known as Caesar, War for the Planet of the Apes is a thoroughly enjoyable epic.   Andy Serkis reprises his role, and is once again in need of recognition for his outstanding motion capture performance, continuing to operate on full precision as well as a believable conviction.  However, despite enjoying it, I admit that I feel it falls behind Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as the best film in the trilogy.  

Matt Reeves is truly a master craftsmen, creating a beautiful and at times brutally dark atmosphere that in a way is a character unto itself. The environments of these films truly project a thrilling ambiance. Hence why in this third entry, I was truly amazed by the cinematography of Michael Seresin, someone who I believe one day will be capable of directing a film of his own. The score by Michael Giacchino also brings forth a strong, positive vibe that adds to the intensified drama.

With that being said, I think my biggest issue with the film is that even though I thought Woody Harrelson playing the supporting role as a sadistic military leader was well done at times, it feels rather forced and doesn't always feel completely fleshed out and falls victim to plot devices. Steve Zahn lends his voice to the big finale providing lovable comical relief with his performance as dimwitted, but occasionally sharp ape that at times feels out of place. I found that as a whole the film is a strong finished product that sometimes feels like a handful of other films. Apocalypse Now being the obvious among several other war films.

The final act of the film feels a bit rushed in setting up the legacy for the future of the franchise. It does maintain a consistent progression, despite these flaws, and is visually engaging enough to remain interesting throughout.  I just feel like there could have been more in the film's script (written by Mark Bomback) and the third act's final battle is good yet doesn't compare to the finale of Dawn.

The story takes place after the events of the second film, forcing Caesar to fight for survival for his clan of apes, ultimately bringing an end to the three film franchise that began in 2011. The series as a whole is one of the more memorable and stronger series of the 2000's and has only gotten more confident and stronger in itself bringing a good end that could have been better. There is a lot of magic and special visual moments in the film and it's a great metaphor for war and judgment considering our society's current state.

There are too often many times when humans act more like animals than animals themselves when we forget what it means to be human and to have empathy for one another, and War For The Planet Of The Apes does a great job of articulating that. In the end the hype for the film is definitely real, despite me not loving it as much as I wanted to.  

☆☆☆

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