After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.
“War for the Planet of the Apes” revolves around ape leader Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his ape tribe as they make it their quest to continually survive, this time against a renegade colonel (Woody Harrelson) who is running a concentration camp for apes while fighting off official military forces belonging to what’s left of the human race. Other renegade apes and human survivors are found in this gritty character study and loyalties on both the human and ape forces are tight. Will Caesar be able to rescue his ape friends while still maintaining the personal peaceful image of the apes, which was previously ruined by the renegade evil apes, or will he end up having to fight evil with evil?
The film makes great use of its beyond-grim atmosphere by keeping every frame relevant and without using overdone edits. Previous viewers of the film have noted the “Apocalypse Now” atmosphere and subtle references (with one scene of graffiti even signaling an “Ape-ocalypse” and the Colonel character constantly being as demented yet speech-laden as Marlon Brando’s Col. Kurtz from that earlier Vietnam piece). The film will likely appeal beyond fans of the current and previous APE franchise due to its scope and the spectrum it covers being above and beyond the call of duty. First-time viewers might need a mild refresher with the last two films but overall this is a stand-alone piece, much like the late greats Akira Kurosawa and David Lean have displayed to cinemas internationally.
When first witnessing this film, I saw various viewers reacting well to the occasionally brief yet effective moments which contained comic relief and tragedy near the end. It’s not every day that I can say a movie with realistic-looking apes hold their own and this film is no exception. It’s heavily recommended, in general, to hardcore science fiction and philosophy seekers as there are plenty of other Easter eggs to keep one occupied long after the final credits have rolled.
In theaters Friday, July 14th