War for the Planet of the Apes Plot:Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson). 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.
“Humans get sick, apes get smart, humans kill apes.” This is how Steve Zahn’s Bad Ape summaries the previous Planet of the Apes reboots. In the third of the Apes prequels (and director Matt Reeves’s second film in the series), the apes are out for revenge, led by a grizzled Caesar (Andy Serkis), whose driving “hate” is stoked by the death of his son at the hands of violent humans. Flanked by his second-in-command, gentle orang-utan Maurice (Karin Konoval), and two other apes, Caesar and co ride on horseback (an image I found beautiful, evocative and bizarre) across beaches, fields and snow-capped mountains to the prison camp where Woody Harrelson’s Colonel has rounded up the remaining apes to build a Trumpian “wall”.
The film’s real technological achievement isn’t the rendering of CGI forests (though these are pretty good) but the motion-capture apes themselves, huge liquid eyes (“My God! Almost human!” the Colonel shudders) and facial expressions as thrillingly elastic and legible as the human actors who play them. All science fiction is philosophy; here, Reeves asks what distinguishes humans from animals. The twist is that as the apes get “smarter” (and the humans become crueller), they also grow softer, in a reminder that humanity resides in both the head and the heart.
- The rebooted franchise goes out with a bang - and a career-high performance from motion-capture maestro Andy Serkis – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, Jul 12, 2017
- A consistently intelligent, morally thoughtful and often beautiful picture. – Charles Taylor, Newsweek, Jul 13, 2017
- A stirring, soulful conclusion to a trilogy that has brilliantly evolved from its original source, claiming the admittedly not-very-competitive crown as the summer's best sequel. – Brian Lowry, CNN.com, Jul 13, 2017
- Suspenseful, mournful, grand, sensitively performed by the ape-actors, and told with such visual authority that whenever the humans start flapping their fancy gums you sort of resent it. – Chris Klimek, NPR, Jul 13, 2017
- With its allusions to Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad, the Bible, American slavery and the civil-rights movement, "War" may not be subtle but it's ultimate proof that summer sequels and blockbusters don't have to be brain-dead bottom-feeders either. - Cary Darling, DFW.com, Jul 15, 2017
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