On IMDb, the film’s genres are listed as “action”, “adventure”, and “drama”. The marketing and subsequent first two films implored that this would ring true; before anyone makes the same mistake as me, I’m here to tell you that this film is exclusively a drama with a few action sequences throughout. This film is incredible, best picture worthy, and is a feat that no big-budget summer film has ever had the audacity to attempt. The film has more in common with Unbroken and Schindler’s List then it does with most modern blockbusters; which may be a plus, but is also out of place and unexpected for the franchise. With all that said, War for the Planet of the Apes may not be the best film to come out this year, but it certainly is the most profound, substantial, and significant.
War for the Planet of the Apes’ logline on IMDb is as follows, “After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.” The film stars MoCap pioneer Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, and Amiah Miller. For the love of God, will someone in the Academy finally make a smart decision for once and nominate Serkis for a damn Oscar already; he doesn’t even need to win (though he probably deserves too). Caesar is able to emote with a haunting passion that is dire for the film’s success. Despite being a resilient leader, Caesar is still human (that’s not correct, but you know what I meant) and must go through hardships and adversities that test his strength; all things that Serkis and the team of visual effects artists were able to capture.
Being a drama, it starts not only with what theatrical scenes unfold but also the actor’s ability to bring them to life. If a character at some point in this film has a speaking role; they delivered a powerful performance. Being filled with CGI and two films before it that were action heavy, there’s a very real fear that all of the potent acting throughout the film will be overlooked.
Don’t let my lack of groundwork dissuade you, the events that progress in the film are flawless. Caesars heroism and valor is aspiring as all hell. There’s no action sets debuted for sheer amazement and there’s absolutely no fat; every line of dialogue and action was accounted for punctiliously and meticulously. Leaving the theatre, it was abundantly clear that this was, and will be remembered, as director Matt Reeves’ “magnum opus.”
Not since Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King has a film had such a proper synthesis of a biblical spectacle and an engaging blockbuster; and that includes Ridley Scott’s “epic”, Exodus: Gods and Kings. Ironically enough; the compassion and benevolence shown by the beasts, towards humans and each other, is a beautiful and more and more seemingly foreign concept in our current society. Voluntarily or not, the film allegorizes humans rapid and harsh savagery with a stark contrast to the ape’s humane way of life.
In professional sports, there is a theory that a team is only as good as their last season. As Golden State Warrior fans currently cheer for their championship win, they will soon learn that their next season will fall into the category, “championship or bust.” The Dark Knight Rises may have been a great film, but since it came after The Dark Knight, it will always be deemed insufficient. An unfair gesture by us film fans, we always think we deserve better and more; which was not the case for all three films in the Apes trilogy.
“War for the Planet of the Apes may not be the best film to come out this year, but it certainly is the most profound, substantial, and significant.”
The rating below gives credit to an incredible film and one that will be celebrated for its memorandum throughout the year. Unfortunately, its predecessor, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, was a five-star film. Matt Reeves has branded himself one of the greatest working directors today, Andy Serkis has deemed himself a true thespian, and War for the Planet of the Apes was a fitting and prevailing conclusion for Caesar; just too bad it may in the future be in the shadow of its precursor.