War For The Planet Of The Apes

A Sprawling Conclusion?

The apes are back, at war once more with man. But this time, it doesn’t look like there’s anyway to peace.

From an original book and subsequent movie, the 1968 Charlton Heston classic, you have to admit the producers have done well to eek out so many movies.

Now we are into all-out war as The Colonel, Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, Seven Psychopaths), takes out some of Caesars family just before they are all set to take off and hide.

Caesar (Andy Serkis), channelling his inner Koba, is hell-bent on revenge for this. He, and some helpers, track Harrelson down, finding a young human girl who can’t speak on the way.

Harrelson, it turns out, has gone rogue after discovering that the original virus that wiped out large parts of humanity has mutated. The virus is now stopping the humans speaking, taking them back to apes if you will.

Harrelson is building a fortress, using captured apes, whilst awaiting a war with other humans who are descending from the north. Humans who believe the virus can be stopped medically.

As well as finding a human girl who is mute, they also find another ape, one they don’t know. He calls himself Bad Ape, Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club, Sahara), and has escaped from a zoo a long time ago.

This is when the movie starts to get a little strange. You see, Bad Ape is akin to those funny little side-kick characters you get in Disney and Pixar movies.

The character has a manic energy and is genuinely funny, funny enough to have his own spin-off even. It just feels unnecessary and, in this instance, misplaced.

Coming in at over two-hours the movie feels long and drawn out. It begins promising enough and you expect they are going to get right into the battle.

Then it gets bogged down in the middle half with tales of death, viruses and humanity between apes and apes and the mute girl.

All you’re really waiting for is this ‘war’ we’ve been promised. But we’ve been sold down the river here. The titular war isn’t between apes and humans but rather humans and humans.

What begins as revenge, which you believe will lead to war, takes us instead to the great escape. With apes.

When the battle does, finally, get under way Caesar manages to live through close-range gun-fire, explosions and who-knows what else.

The motion capture, performances and directing are all great, as usual, as you’d expect.

But, War For The Planet Of The Apes isn’t the movie I hoped it was going to be. And the movie it is, I wasn’t enamoured by.

I’d happily watch a, Bad Ape, spin-off, but this franchise has had its day. Or whatever concept of time apes use.

The apes are back, at war once more with man. But this time, it doesn't look like there's anyway to peace.

11th July 2017

Matt Reeves

Matt Reeves, Mark Bomback

Running Time:
2h 20min


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