War for the Planet of the Apes is a sci-fi drama directed by Matt Reeves and it is the third instalment in this reboot of the Planet of the Apes franchise. This film is the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and stars Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer, Terry Notary and Andy Serkis. The story of War for the Planet of the Apes focuses on Caesar (Andy Serkis) who is leading the Apes in a war against the human military faction known as Alpha-Omega for control of Earth and to become the dominant species.
My Knowledge and Expectation of War for the Planet of the Apes
For me, this is a film which had a lot going for it and a lot going against it. In one sense, War for the Planet of the Apes had a great foundation to establish this trilogy as one of the best that has ever been made. I think that Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a good film and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a very good film and they both helped set the stage for War for the Planet of the Apes to close out this trilogy on a very strong note.
However, that comes with a lot of pressure too as there have been times when the third film in a trilogy is bad; very bad. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Matrix Revolutions, X-Men: The Last Stand and Spider-Man 3 come to mind when thinking about weak third instalments in a trilogy. Still, despite this, I had faith in Matt Reeves to deliver once again and I had no doubt that Andy Serkis would give us another superb performance as Caesar whose arc in these films has been fantastic.
My Thoughts on War for the Planet of the Apes
In the end, War for the Planet of the Apes brought this trilogy to a fitting conclusion. While I prefer Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, War for the Planet of the Apes is a good film that sets itself apart from a lot of the films that have come out this summer. The reason why this is the case is because of its depth. Indeed, this film is much more of a drama than a war film and it shines through its highlighting of themes such as internment, slavery and revenge to name a few.
The characters in War for the Planet of the Apes also elevate the quality of the film. At the core of this film is a brilliant and captivating central performance by Andy Serkis. His portrayal of Caesar through motion-capture technology has been consistently fantastic and he continues this trend in War for the Planet of the Apes. The acting by Serkis is brilliant and the effects which are used to bring Serkis’ performance as Caesar to life as well as the other Apes are extraordinary. They look so realistic that it is difficult to comprehend that they are not real Apes! Moreover, the interactions that Caesar had with The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) were very engaging and Harrelson did a good job in his role as the villain.
Andy Serkis is a big reason why War for the Planet of the Apes is a good film, despite its flaws which I must get into. Firstly, I thought that the films’ narrative could have been told in a much tighter way. I should say that I adored the first act of the film. It was gripping, emotional, the action was great and it put the film in a position where it could have been better than Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. However, the second and third act of the film could have been cut down which would have vastly improved the pacing of War for the Planet of the Apes.
Additionally, I could have done without the character of Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) because I have never thought that comedic relief was necessary in these films. While I did not hate Bad Ape, I wish more time would have instead been devoted to other characters such as Maurice (Karin Konoval) who is a character that I have loved in this trilogy. His relationship with Caesar has always been engaging and authentic and I also liked the relationship that he had with Nova (Amiah Miller) in War for the Planet of the Apes.
The score in War for the Planet of the Apes, which was composed by Michael Giacchino who also worked on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Spider-Man: Homecoming, was good but I did not love it as much as others did. In fact, that is my general feeling about War for the Planet of the Apes. I liked the film. It is good and brings Caesar’s story to an appropriate conclusion.
However, I disagree with those who believe it is better than Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Still, this only shows how consistently good this trilogy is. If you are a fan of these films, then I urge you to see War for the Planet of the Apes because the good in this film far outweighs the flaws. Moreover, while this film brings an end to Caesar’s story, there are more stories to tell in this reboot series and I hope that there is more to come.