Benz Eye View: War for the Planet of the Apes

War_for_the_Planet_of_the_Apes_poster
War for the Planet of the Apes

Pros: 

1.) Like its previous installments, this film has excellent special effects/CG.  The apes themselves look life-like with their facial animations, appearances, and movements.  They do not look out of place when blending in with live actors and environments…

2.) …Many of the ape effects and movement are all thanks to the mocap actors, especially Andy Serkis as Caesar.  They act so much like apes (with higher intelligence), I keep forgetting that these people actually look like this:

DOTPOTA CAESAR gif
Kind of hard to take seriously during production.

Speaking of Andy Serkis, I cannot believe that this guy did not at least get a nomination for Best Actor in the past two films, because his performance is outstanding in this one as well.  He conveys so much emotion from anger to sadness to content when the scene allows it.  He better get a consideration for Best Actor in the Academy Awards, otherwise I will be ticked off (although considering what happened at the last Academy Awards, I would not be surprised considering the incompetency of the Academy).

3.) This trilogy knows how to show, not tell, because the film itself lets the audience swallow what happens in certain moments, and the characters’ emotions and reactions (as well as the music) speak how they actually feel instead of them talking about how they feel at the moment.  It makes many scenes powerful and emotional to the core.  Some things are more powerful if we see it rather than the characters talk about it.

 

Cons: 

1.) When a certain character gets introduced, the film gets a bit of a comedic tone alongside its serious and dramatic tones, and it does not really mix well.  Those comedic moments are pretty funny, but it feels out of place, especially when the film deals with serious moments for Caesar and his fellow apes…

2.) …Speaking of Caesar, there is a sub-plot involving his possible downfall into Koba’s (the antagonist from the last film) way of thinking.  This feels weak for two reasons.  One, it is pretty predictable.  I knew where it was going with it and how it ended, and it did not really surprise me, which leads to the second reason: they did not really go too far with it in my opinion.  I have seen similar movies do the same sub-plot, and did it better.  I feel like they should make Caesar take actions that go way too far, but in this film, they are either not that many or not too consequential.  Long story short, this film delivers a weak sub-plot about Caesar’s possible downfall into Koba’s beliefs.

3.) The antagonist in this film, The Colonel is lacking compared to the last antagonist, Koba.  He is stereotypical military religious nut-job who has some motivation, but it is weak at best, and forgettable at worst.  I was more interested in a certain plot device that drove the Colonel forward than the character himself.  In many ways, he kind of sucks leading his soldiers, because those soldiers suck in acting at certain tasks that I cannot believe that they overlooked.  How the Colonel goes out is pretty good, but he is not as compelling as Koba from the last film.

 

Overall: 

Based on the book called La Planète des Singes back in 1963, The Planet of the Apes films have been around for almost fifty years.  I unfortunately have not seen the original series (though I have been spoiled of the twist ending in the first film), but I have seen the 2001 remake directed by Tim Burton and not liking it (especially with the confusing ending).  For the reboot film series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a decent example of how to reboot films.  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is an outstanding film and a worthy sequel of a decent movie.  Does War for the Planet of the Apes outdo its predecessors, and make an amazing film?  While it is not as good as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, it is certainly better than Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  There are plenty of areas I can find they can improve on (i.e. the antagonist, a couple of sub-plots, the enemy base’s layout), but I find this to be a great film nonetheless with some fantastic mocap acting, special effects, visual storytelling.  It kind of bums me out that this film does not escape the curse of the third film being not as good as the second one, but it is still a great film.  If you enjoyed any of the Apes reboot films, you will enjoy this one as long you do not mind the slow pacing.

8/10

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