War for the Planet of the Apes moview review: One of the finest blockbuster trilogies comes to a thrilling, sombre conclusion, thanks to Matt Reeves direction, and Andy Serkis’ great performance.
War for the Planet of the Apes
Director – Matt Reeves
Cast – Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller
Rating – 4.5/5
Fifteen years ago, a virus called the Simian Flu all but wiped out humanity. It was because we interfered in matters we did not understand, and our arrogant belief that we could alter nature and escape unpunished.
But the virus had a side-effect. It made Simians – apes, chimps, monkeys of all sorts – evolve quicker than they were meant to. Soon, like most oppressed beings suddenly empowered, they fought back. They were led in that first battle by an ape named Caesar, who had seen the compassion mankind was capable of, but also the cruelty.
It’s been fifteen years since the fight on the Golden Gate Bridge, a fight the apes won, but after which they were forced to leave the dangerous cities. Caesar, battle-worn and scarred, has taken his apes, and his family, into the woods, where they lay in hiding, one eye always glancing over their shoulder for the last remnants of humanity to attack.
Word has travelled over the snowy mountains that a violent militia has been formed by a cruel man, a man who calls himself The Colonel, like Apocalypse Now’s Kurtz, utterly consumed by insanity. He has imprisoned hundreds of apes at his large compound, which lies at the foot of snowy, forested mountains. He makes them work, under his boot-heels, tamed to the sound of his whip. He has madness in his eyes, they say. A torn, tattered American flag hangs limply off his balcony, from where, like Schindler’s List’s Amon Göth, he surveys his kingdom through a lens.
He wants them to build a wall.
War for the Planet of the Apes is the rare blockbuster that arrives once, maybe twice every year. In 2017, we haven’t seen a better one since Logan, a film with which it shares several similarities – a hero driven by duty, a mute young girl whom he must protect, and a sombre tone that will surely test the patience of some audience members. But that’s what made me like it more.
Crafted by hundreds of immensely talented people, sculpted around a flawless central performance by Andy Serkis, a maverick and a maven. If this doesn’t get him an Academy Award nomination, then we must rally the troops, and like a bunch of apes, protest till they start firing arrows at our sides, yelling ‘Apes, together, strong,’ till we die.