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War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes [2017] is the final film in the prequel trilogy that Matt Reeves (War and Dawn) and Rupert Wyatt (Rise) have delivered to cinemas since 2011. Audiences have followed Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his family of apes for the last several years as they have gained their freedom, fought for their solidarity and now struggle to survive in a world that they have forever altered. After good supporting roles from James Franco and Gary Oldman, War is graced with the more convincing talent of Woody Harrelson as the main human antagonist to the Apes. In a tale of revenge and survival, War delivers some thought provoking imagery and a slate of themes to complement rounding out this trilogy.

Caesar Serkis: Andy Serkis has become synonymous with any of the characters he has portrayed in the past. After three rounds of Caesar, there is a strong case to be made that the role that Serkis will forever be remembered for will be of Caesar, leader of the Apes (sorry LOTR fans). There is more effort behind motion-capture acting than standing and reciting lines than what may seem to be on the surface. Serkis is a vocal master as an actor and his facial acting is even superior. It helps that Serkis had several attempts at this character but he really did something extra in War.Caesar goes on a path in War that is unexpected as his morals are questioned. Caesar’s virtue is nearly lost in this film and his pain of this choice is expressed perfectly by Serkis. Serkis has cemented Caesar as one of the greatest science fiction characters of all time.

Out of the Comfort Zone: War does something different than the previous two films in this series and that is the location of the events in the film take place in about three separate locations. We are given the base of operations for the Apes, then we are treated to some gorgeous cinematography of the tundra and finish off with the base of operation for The Colonel (Harrelson) and his men. Not only do the Apes go through a journey in this film but the audience is visually taken on that journey as well. There is no cut to a new location. The audience gets tied down and pulled through the mud and snow as the characters struggle to find their end destination.

Character Clash: Caesar vs Koba will forever be the best dichotomy in this trilogy. However, Caesar vs The Colonel does not disappoint in this film. There are events in the previous films that fuel passions and vices within these two leaders and they both have relatable causes. But what really makes these two characters unique, is how they are impacted by fear and their own form of righteousness. They both allow these themes to control their destinies. At times they are what save these characters and often it dooms them both and the decline that is witnessed is truly poetic.

Love It or Hate It: There are aspects of this film that a general audience member could either leave or take. Coming to mind is the score, the amount of interactions Caesar and The Colonel have together and the character of Bad Ape (Steve Zahn). All have moments where they are amazing and all have moments where you ask yourself “Is this what I wanted?”. It is exciting to know that there can be several different opinions of this film and questions can be asked long after it is finished with its cinematic run.

War for the Planet of the Apes has helped to establish this prequel trilogy
as one of the best science fiction film series of all time and
War will be regarded as a staple for sequels in any film genre.

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The film War for the Planet of the Apes is featured on Borrowing Tape's Best Films of 2017 list.

 

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War for the Planet of the Apes
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