Friday 7 July 2017

War For Planet Of The Apes By Matt Reeves

Reviewed By Linda Marric

Returning for a third Instalment and what is largely understood to be the final film in the franchise, the new Planet Of The Apes movie or to give it its full name War For The Planet Of The Apes, is set to be the best reviewed film of the summer, surpassing even Wonder Woman in the hearts and minds of some critics. Directed and co-written by Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Let Me In, Cloverfield), the film does a great job in tying the narratives of its predecessors together all the while paying homage to a number of classic favourites. With shades of Apocalypse Now, Stagecoach, The Searchers (and I can't be the only one who saw even a bit of Schindler’s List in it), the film is a rather touching tale of triumph of good over evil, and features some of the best performances of the summer, with the return of the always brilliant Andy Serkis as the legendary Caesar.

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

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