Movie Title: War for the Planet of the Apes
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 2 hr. and 20 min.
Who did I watch with?: Stephie
Where did I watch it?: Home
War for the Planet of the Apes is an unsatisfactory conclusion to the Andy Serkis’ Apes trilogy. War picks up close to where Dawn left off. Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his band of apes are secluded in the forest trying to avoid the forces of The Colonel. After The Colonel discovers the ape stronghold he stages a covert operation in which Caesar’s wife and son are killed. If you manage to forget who was killed in the raid, don’t worry, the movie will remind you approximately five more times before the midpoint of the film. The movie then enters a very slow build where Caesar goes rogue with Maurice, Rocket, and the rest of his inner circle to pursue The Colonel’s (Woody Harrelson) forces. Naturally, this decision doesn’t prove to be wise.
Geography is more than a little wonky in War. California certainly has a diverse climate, but not quite as diverse over such short distances as this movie would have you believe. It wanders between deserts, forests, and snowy mountain tops in between frames. During the build up they run into several plot devices, I mean, characters that help them on their way. These characters then proceed to hang around for the rest of the movie with no genuine purpose. One is an ape named Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) who has been hiding in the wilderness since escaping from the zoo during the plot of Rise. He lets them know where The Colonel is going. They also find a mute girl that they name Nova. She causes them to realize that the humans are suffering from a resurfacing of the original virus that began the ape mutations.
After that, the rest of the movie is garbage. Caesar was built up with strong character traits in the first movie and he completely foregoes many of them here. Many side plots that were laboriously built up are wasted. The war mentioned in the title never materializes. The humans have a battle with each other. Humans are self-destructive. What a surprise. The apes are almost entirely victimized and the movie takes the shape of The Great Escape or The Bridge on the River Kwai except, not good. All this leads to one of the main story arcs having a terribly predictable ending. The other is resolved deus ex machina style.
I greatly enjoyed both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I wish the final act of the trilogy had been much stronger. All the pieces were put in place for it to be very successful, but it just didn’t work. See it if you need to finish the trilogy, otherwise skip it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: The Godfather, Part II (1974)