Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson). After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both of their species and the future of the planet.
WAR is the 3rd and final installment in the Planet of the Apes franchise. Being the third film in the series, it has the rarely bestowed honor of being the best in the trilogy. WAR grabs you by the throat in its opening sequence and slowly squeezes the life out of you till the final credits roll. Sure there are moments where you can gasp for air but the film ultimately wraps its grasps around your throat again. I really enjoy the first two Apes movies, but this one is on an entirely different level.
War isn’t your typical summer blockbuster: it’s brutal, it’s intense, it’s dark and it’s tough to watch in some parts. In a lot of ways it goes against the grain of many summer blockbusters. While happy endings are usually customary, they more often than not come without consequences. That is where War differs, characters must make difficult decisions and sacrifices must me made. War isn’t your average superhero film where everyone lives and goes home happy, there is loss and there is brutality, almost to the point where I’m surprised this movie earned a PG-13 rating.
The motion capture work in this movie is flat out incredible. It is as close to real as possible. It looks so real that you almost forget that what you’re watching is being done in a motion capture studio. Andy Serkis is once again just earth shatteringly good as Caesar. I don’t think it will happen but this is a performance that warrants an oscar nomination in my opinion. There isn’t enough that can be said about how good Serkis has been in these films and for the advancement of motion capture. The VFX team on this film should be very proud of their work as it’s really phenomenal what they have done here.
I also think Woody Harrelson deserves a ton of recognition here. He was fantastic in one of his best performances of all time. One of the small issues with the other apes films is the focus on some humans that the audience is never truly invested in. An example of this would be Gary Oldman’s character in Rise. This is very much the opposite here as I I was truly invested in Harrelson’s character from start to finish. He’s truly menacing and was wonderful villain in which this film needed to be as great as it was. The character of Bad Ape was also a refreshing comic-relief character in a very dark movie. I thought he worked quite well.
Every frame of War is totally gripping and it is beautifully crafted by director Matt Reeves. This movie is sure to excite some fans for his upcoming Batman film but his brilliance here should not be overlooked. The movie is constructed in such a way that everything connects and no stone is left unturned. You learn 90% of what you need to know for the rest of the film in the opening 5 minutes. There is one exposition scene in this movie. Yeah, that’s right just one. War tells its story visually there is no need for the characters to sit down and explain to the audience what is going on. This is a refreshing change from most movies you will see this year. War assumes its audience can figure things out without its help.
Although the series already had two solid entries, War For the Planet of the Apes manages to be head and shoulder above the previous two films. In doing so it solidifies itself as one the best films of the year and The Planet of the Apes trilogy as one of the best of all time