Reviewed By Linda Marric
Caesar (Serkis) is holed with what’s left of his group on a snowy mountainous region at the risk for an imminent attack from The Colonel (Woody Harrelson), a sort of mixture between Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now, and Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth in Schindler’s List. After a particularly devastating episode and great loss of life at the hands of The Colonel, the group must leave their hideout to find a safer place to bring up their young and live a peaceful life away from a war started by Koba (Toby Kebbell). However, things don’t quite go to plan, leaving Caesar and his followers suffering great hardship and strife at the hands of a callous megalomanic.
Elsewhere, Reeves does a fantastic job in conveying a certain “end of an era” feel to the narrative, all the while sticking to the story at hand. With some impressive action-packed sequences and fight scenes, the writers are able to tell a fairly straightforward story which is only let down by a needlessly expositional narrative. Serkis is utterly brilliant as Caesar, his ability to convey the humanity in his character is unequalled. Newcomer Amiah Miller puts in a great turn as Nova, who for all intents and purposes acts as symbolic signifier for hope and new beginnings, which deputise coming across as little too facile and is nonetheless rather touching.
War For The Planet of The Apes is by no means a perfect film, it is needlessly long and at times a little too predictable, but you will find yourself rooting for it regardless. One suspects the real reason behind its popularity amongst critical circles is its ability to show that humanity always wins in the end, be it man or ape. Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves are only too aware of their audiences’ needs and expectations and are only too happy to oblige. Expect huge numbers at the box-office.
Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves
Stars: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn