Saturday, July 15, 2017

War for Planet of the Apes impresses audiences with the closing film in an epic trilogy

Grade:  A-

Rating:  PG-13, 140 minutes

In a Nutshell:  This is a war movie with all of the violence, explosions, strategy, suffering, beatings, prison camp, and human drama that the best war movies has….except that it also happens to have apes.  

This final installment in the reboot trilogy of Planet Of The Apes has incredible visual effects and plenty of heart to end the journey and story in an epic way.

I watched the original series of Planet Of The Apes when I was a little girl and remember even attending a Movie Marathon at a theater that played them all back-to-back.  I think the original film team would have been proud of this new version…and extremely impressed.  “Apes together strong!”

Uplifting theme: 
  • Mercy vs. justice
  • Revenge vs. forgiveness
  • Family, friendship, loyalty
  • Fear vs. love

Things I liked:
  • If you have forgotten exactly what happened in the first two movies, the beginning of the movie gives you a clever, quick summary of RISE and DAWN to lead you into the WAR.  There’s only one other expositional scene, which makes for a very riveting movie without long scenes that have to explain to you what’s going on and why. 
  • Andy Serkis is absolutely amazing.  What an outstanding career he has had in bringing epic characters to life like Lord of the Rings’ Gollum and now Caesar. He deserves every one of the awards he has won and been nominated for.
  • The cinematography is stunning.  Visually, it's a truly beautiful movie.
  • The motion capture work is unbelievable.  There is a blending of humans dressed as apes and real apes and you can't often tell the difference. In fact, you forget you’re watching special effects when you see the apes move and talk.  They’re incredible.
  • I love the small details, like blood vessels in the ape’s unbelievably expressive eyes, fog coming out of the apes’ mouths in the winter scenes, and ice crystals on the apes’ fur.  Speaking of the eyes, even Colonel exclaims, “Look at your eyes!  Almost human!”
  • “Bad Ape” (voiced by the lovable Steve Zahn) provides most of the comic relief.  He was a scene-stealer every time. In a dark movie like this, “Bad Ape” could have been an awkward “Jar Jark Binks” figure that just didn’t work, but instead, “Bad Ape” works very well.
  • I got a kick out of carefully placed words that provided some humor like “Ape-colypse Now”, and “Bedtime for Bonzo”.
  • It’s truly rare that the third film in a series can measure up to the first or even the second, but this last edition in the franchise is excellent.
  • Critics are referring to the script writing as a masterpiece, partly because it follows the old-fashioned model of storytelling.
  • The score by Michael Giacchino was noticeably awesome.  It kept up with the meat of the story extremely well.
  • The green laser sequence was super cool.
  • Directed by Matt Reeves, this film immediately immerses you into the ape world from the beginning. 
  • Woody Harrelson was fun to watch, as always.
  • I love that this final installment in the story is so ape-centric.
  • SPOILER: If you think about it, the end of the movie is a perfect set-up for the very FIRST movie in 1968.  Interesting, right?

Things I didn’t like:
  • It’s a bit slow-moving.  It’s more of a thinking movie, rather than an action movie.
  • A lot of dark, night scenes will make this hard to watch on your computer when it comes out on DVD and streaming.
  •  The Colonel makes some dumb decisions in regards to Caesar.
  • The Colonel is worried about his race dying because of the apes, but ummm....where are all the women? Doesn't the lack of female humans pretty much end the human race?  ha ha
  • It always bugs me when the lines in the movie trailers are different from what's actually in the movie.

Interesting lines:
  • “The irony is we created you and nature has been punishing us ever since.” –  The Colonel (Woody Harrelson)
  • “There are times when it is necessary to abandon our humanity in order to save our humanity.” – The Colonel 
  • "I saved myself.” – “Donkey” gorilla
“Is there anything left of you to save?” – Caesar
  • “I am like Koba.  I can’t escape my hate.” – Caesar
  • “I did not start this war…..I fight only to protect apes.” – Caesar
  • “I may not make it back.” – Caesar
“That’s why I’m coming….to make sure you do.” - Maurice (Karin Konoval)  Interesting that he's voiced by a woman, right?

Funny lines:
  • “Oh no! OK.”  - Bad Ape
  • “You’re probably not much of a reader.” – Colonel to Caesar
Tips for parents: 
  • There are bodies of dead humans and apes throughout the entire movie.
  • A lot of the monkeys use sign language, so there are a lot of subtitles kids will have to read quickly.
  • There is a lot of violence, including frequent and bloody beatings.  Some images will be disturbing for young kids.

Take another look at the first two parts of the story:

Rise Of The Planet of the Apes

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