After eight iterations of ‘Planet of the Apes‘ and half a century later, the conclusive ending (is it?) to the modern adaptation of the classic saga has finally hit the theatres. With Matt Reeves at the helm, War for the Planet of the Apes has delivered a masterpiece to the critically acclaimed trilogy.
Set two years after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, War for the Planet of the Apes opens with a fighting sequence which sets the precedent of the movie; dark, brutal and unforgiving. With the breakout of a catastrophic war, the apes, led by the charismatic Caesar (Andy Serkis) fight to survive against an army of humans led by a ruthless leader, who calls himself as The Colonel (Woody Harrelson). The Simian Flu, which enhanced the cognitive intelligence of apes while threatening to wipe out the entire human race has become deadlier since its first outbreak in Rise. The world as we know, has changed, and the fear that has gripped the planet is visceral and palpable.
Rarely, a fantasy movie has captured the plight of human decadence with such accuracy.
Beginning from Rise, the trilogy has become increasingly unforgiving and grittier. The failed attempt at peace between apes and humans, and the threat of extinction is captured brilliantly in War. Rarely, a fantasy movie has captured the plight of human decadence with such accuracy. War for the Planet of the Apes easily makes its way to the leagues of Lord of the Rings and The Dark Knight trilogy, when it comes to testing the limits of one’s morality in the face of mortal peril. After so many iterations, Reeves’ take on ‘Planet of the Apes‘ has brought a more sentimental touch to the movies. To call War for the Planet of the Apes as spectacular would be an understatement. The ability of Reeves’ to make the audience watch humanity fall into the abyss through the eyes of an ape is simply the work of a genius, to say the least.
With a tightly knitted plot, Matt Reeves brilliantly creates an atmosphere of suspense which truly makes War a magical experience. The picturesque cinematography added with war-torn imagery takes it to an entirely another level. Apart from the plotline and imagery, the genius of Reeves is clearly visible in the way the characters are fleshed out. Instead of getting an sentimental edge, the apes are brilliantly characterised with traits of individualism, self-preservation and vengeance. Right from the charismatic Caesar to the comic-relief ‘Bad-Ape’, every single character stands out in this dark and gritty tale. The symbolism used in the movie effortlessly puts forth some points which addresses the issues in the real world. Drawing inspirations from Francis Ford Copolla’s ‘Apocalypse Now‘, War manages to pay homage to the legendary director in grandeur. From Vietnam War to Nazi Germany, from crucifixion of Caesar to the biblical path traversed by the apes, War manages to keep the pace going without any setbacks.
The leader of apes, Caesar, is played by Andy Serkis, an auteur-actor in the field of motion-capture. From playing Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy to Caesar in Planet of the Apes trilogy, Serkis has never ceased to amaze the audience and the critics with his raw talent. But with War, Serkis’ talent added with the ever-growing technology, has set the bar to the skies. His portrayal of Caesar is so convincing, that at times, one might be wondering whether it’s a real ape on the screen who is able to portray a gamut of emotions with effortless ease. Serkis as Caesar doesn’t just leaves the audience gaping with awe, but also, commands respect. His presence on the screen ensures that the spectator won’t be just watching the movie, but rather, living the experience. His happiness, his moments of despair and his seething rage, is almost corporeal in nature.
To match Serkis’ Caesar, the casting of Woody Harrelson as The Colonel was the right thing to do. If you thought that Harrelson could never top his portrayal of Detective Martin ‘Marty’ Hart in True Detective, you will be truly amazed by his extraordinary range in War for the Planet of the Apes. A ruthless leader with only one goal : vengeance, Harrelson strikes terror with his wrath. The Colonel is a commanding figure who draws inspiration from Marlon Brando’s Colonel Hurtz in ‘Apocalypse Now‘.
To make movies truly magical, the soundtrack plays a vital role which often gets overshadowed by direction and acting. Michael Giacchino’s score makes the entire setting majestic. From fight sequences to the sentimental scenes, Giacchino’s score amalgamates perfectly with the visual imagery.
With this conclusive tale, Planet of the Apes finally got the acclaim it truly deserved. Reeves’ attention to minute details in a movie of colossal proportions is truly commendable. Right from action sequences to portraying a poignant narration through minimal usage of dialogues, War for the Planet of the Apes transcends from the fantasy genre to dark, gritty realism. Let it be known, Hollywood can still produce fantasy movies rooted in the dark side of humanity with full grandeur.
War for the Planet of the Apes is now in theatres.
- Tightly knitted plot
- Woody Harrelson's Colonel
- Captures plight of human decadence beautifully