Last Sunday, July 16, my husband and I watched the last full show of War for the Planet of the Apes at Cinema 2 of Centrio Mall. We saw both Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), so we were quite excited to find out what Director Matt Reeves has prepared for the 3rd installment of the Planet of the Apes reboot series. I didn’t read a lot of pre-screening write ups about the movie and could not even remember if I had seen the trailer. And that got me even more excited.
The movie is 140 minutes long (more or less 2 hours & 30 minutes) and every single minute of it was riveting, thrilling, emotional, and thought-provoking. It is one of the very few movies that had me glued to the screen (and to my seat) the entire time. I was blown away the minute the apes came into the frame.
It’s difficult to explain in detail how I feel about the movie, but I can list five of the reasons why it is now on my list of all-time favorites.
Five Reasons Why War for the Planet of the Apes Is Now An All-Time Favorite
(And Why You Should Watch It)
War for the Planet of the Apes is not a glossy movie about apes and humans. The focus of its storyline is the conflict between Caesar and his apes and the military (humans, with some apes). Early on in the film, you’ll discover that the military (known as Alpha-Omega) is bent on killing Caesar and his army of intelligent apes. The attempt is unsuccessful but the story does not end there. In fact, it has just begun.
How the story of Caesar’s revenge and the apes’ uprising is narrated is one of the major things that make the film effective. Evocative and poignant, you will be easily drawn to every scene; to every line.
And, no, this is not the kind of storyline that you can play “I know what will happen next” to. Nope, it’s not. There were some instances when I thought I had an inkling of what was about to happen, but I was wrong.
The story is not glamorized in any way. There are a lot of dark, bleak, and scary scenes; and the lines have meaning. It doesn’t talk about war in the typical and predictable way because there is nothing normal about what’s happening to Caesar and his apes.
Caesar will have you thinking, feeling, and hoping. He’ll make you want to shout, cry, and get mad. He’ll make you feel strong and important. He is the central figure in this film and the first time you see him onscreen, you’ll immediately identify with his character.
3. Andy Serkis
Andy Serkis is Caesar and Caesar is Andy Serkis. Just look at those eyes. That’s all I need to tell you.
4. Maurice the Orangutan
Portrayed brilliantly by Karin Konoval, Maurice is Caesar’s adviser. He is wise and kind, and he has everyone’s best interest at heart. He is one of the apes who “holds Caesar together”; who serves as an inspiration for the other apes.
We all need a Maurice in our life.
5. Nova the Mute Girl
I see Amiah Miller’s Nova as a symbol; a positive one. She represents the hope that Caesar and the apes heavily cling on to. In every scene she is in, she stands out not only because she is human, but also because of how strong and bold she is.
In the latter part of the film, Nova plays a very important role – and I loved her even more for it.
Think of Nova as the spark of hope in every storm, because I’m sure that’s what she really is for the apes.
Steve Zahn’s Bad Ape is a runner-up in this list because this charac ter blended exceptionally well with the rest of the film. He provides a bit of comic relief, but it’s not too much and is just the kind that’s needed. In other words, his character does not go overboard by looking stupid while trying to make people laugh.
Woody Harrelson’s iron-fisted, extremely hateful The Colonel is another runner-up. The Alpha-Omega leader will have you swearing while wishing terrible things would happen to him. He will bring back memories and images of the world’s most ruthless and cruel leaders.
The rest of the cast delivers excellent performances. You’ll also love the film’s musical score (by Michael Giacchino), as well as the cinematography and special effects. I have to agree with my favorite movie reviewer Chris Stuckmann, War for the Planets of the Apes is the best of the three films in the Planet of the Apes reboot series.
War for the Planets of the Apes is still showing in your favorite theaters. If you want an evocative, thought-provocative, and brilliantly crafted film, watch it as soon as you can. It’s worth your time and money.
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Amiah Miller, Gabriel Chavarria, Ty Olsson, and Judy Greer, among many others.
Running Time: 140 minutes
MTRCB Rating: PG (Parental Guidance)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%
Watch the tailer HERE.