War for the Planet of the Apes – Film Review

In this final entry you always expect a giant spectacle in a closing chapter, but instead with this film you get a great closure to a character’s arc. Caesar’s arc comes to a strong close with a personal struggle between him and the Zealot war leader of Woody Harrelson’s character. Their dynamic has a great beginning middle and end. Going into the film you have to wonder how much this film will connect to the 1968 film to see how it will continue and if it sets it up perfectly. I’m pleased to say that it doesn’t feel like the characters have to get into their “A New Hope” positions so forcefully.

The introduce two great new characters of Bad Ape played by Steve Zhan and Nova (who was a character in the original ’68 film). There is some intersting but maybe too convenient of a plot explanation as to why she doesn’t speak which. There was some great moments between the young actress who plays Nova and the other apes that you believed that she was interacting with them trying to become apart of their family. One of the complaints I had about the previous film “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was that the protagonist human characters felt useless, while this film Nova filled that purpose and felt integral to the plot. Bad Ape also adds some great comedy and levity to a brutal film.

I did not start this war. I offered you peace. I showed you mercy. But now you’re here. To finish us off… for good.

If I have not said it before I will say it again Michael Giacchino is one of the best composers of all time and he truly exemplifies that with this film’s score. Such originality and creativity in his refrains and use of objects and new sounds. The music elevates the films tempo and creates a beautiful language between what’s going on screen and the emotion the audience should be feeling. By the title itself you would believe this film is about man versus ape from an outsider’s perspective, but in actuality it’s more about which species maintains its humanity through this tragic epidemic to be the superior species. I was glad that the human characters weren’t overly villainized and that not all of humanity is not worth saving.

My only negatives with the film is that I felt that the end of Caesar’s character story didn’t have to be closed in that fashion. I am not sure if that was more of a creative choice or a business decision. I am curious to how the franchise will move forward and if they will remake the 1968 film. The Simian Flu had some more involvement in this story which I felt had some convenience issues. The other negative I had with the film is that there were some silly decisions that human characters made that I felt were stupid mistakes that should have been avoided. Overall this is the strongest entry in the franchise in my opinion and a great high note to go out on.


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