REVIEW: “WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES” (2017) 20th Century Fox

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With this being the final film in the Apes trilogy saga ~ WOW! does this one have a lot to offer. From charactarization to extraordinary and beautifully done set pieces, along with spectacular next-level CG work that brings such realness to the apes. Of course it has flaws, but they are few. This truly shows how to respect original material, yet reinvent it in a way that enhances and sends it off in the right way.

If you are like me and have, whether secretly or not, always been cheering for the apes, you will love this movie. This movie has so much going on within itself the whole time, you will rarely find a dull moment. It starts with a bit of a prologue from previous films which I loved as it’s always nice to have a reminder – but done simply, clearly and precisly in a matter of a few short sentences. This will make it nice and easy for those who’ve not seen the earlier films in this series.

Of course, as the title dictates, it all starts with war. After the death of the man-hating Koba (Toby Kebbell) in “Dawn of The Planet of the Apes”, we find Caesar (Andy Serkis) looking to lead his klan to a new life where they can live in peace. But after a huge opening scene battle, where we see Caesar letting some humans live so they can take back an offer of peace to their commander known as The Colonel (Woody Harrelson). This offer is clearly rejected when they attack the apes and kill Caesars’ wife & son. And now it’s Caesar turn for revenge. Wanting to take this path of revenge on his own while sending the others off to find the peaceful land his son had found for them, he is unltimately joined by Maurice (Karin Konoval), Rocket (Terry Notary), and Luca (Michael Adamthwaite). Along the way they pick up Nova (Amiah Miller), a young mute girl (how she gets her name is a fun little plot line) and Bad Ape (Steve Zahn), an ex-zoo ape who doesn’t speak the ape language at all and truly adds the perfect bit of fun, zany bit of humour to a oft-times, dark film. We also find out, there was a disease that came after the plague, that cause humans to go dumb as in the case of Nova. This all builds up to the reasoning behind why The Colonel wants to completely exterminate the entire Simian community.

In the midst of all this, we also meet the newest addition to Caesars’ family, one that brings us back around to the very beginning. To those of you that don’t know Cornelius (Devyn Dalton), this goes back old school – we are talking Roddy McDowell/Charlton Heston Apes beginning circa 1968. Along with a few brief appearances by Koba – more of a mirage – reminding Caesar of things such as ‘ape does not kill ape’ and how hate bred inside of him and it didn’t end well, we have a good mix of old and new being brought together to wrap everything together.

As Caesar learns his entire tribe has been captured and taken to a work camp where they are put into forced labour to build a wall, he tried desperately to figure out plans to set them free. See, turns out that The Colonel has a completely different army coming after him because he is killing his own people, including his own son, for coming down with the new ailment that seems to be contagious to some. So what do the apes do? Well what we all should. They stand up and resist and through peserverance and brainpower, they outwit their captors to find their way out. There are moments that you can’t help but think of the narrative and where it leads to and how it matches so much in a way with our past and present state of our country politically.

As for acting, you would think with all the CG effects there really couldn’t be any, and while the human characters aren’t leading the ‘interesting’ pack here, there are moments when you swear Caesar is real. While there is predictability for sure, the very climatic ending is almost in two parts and while I scoffed for a quick moment at the 2nd part, it wasn’t a scoff of disdain but rather disbelief in a good way.

Just remember ~ No one comes out of this film well, after all it is a war.

Grade: A-
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Wednesday, June 21. 2017 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Nationwide Release: Friday, July 14, 2017

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+++REVIEW ~ “DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES+++

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darn_of_the_planet_of_the_apes-intl_posterIf I’ve learned anything by watching movies, it’s to never have huge expectations for anything, especially Blockbuster season.  While I did like this movie, for the first 15 minutes, I almost felt as though I could be watching a foreign film as it was all subtitles for the language the apes speak…and it was kinda fun.

I’m sure most already know the basic overview of the movie.  It picks up where the last one left off.  Most of the human population has now died off from the man-made ‘Simian Flu’ and the world has moved on to being occupied by a large ape population. Or so we think. This is where the movie got a bit cliched for me.  The apes have the first 15-20 min. of the movie all to themselves as we see how they live now, in the forest they escaped to previously, with “Caesar” (Andy Serkis) being their leader. A conversation ensues between some of the apes about how they haven’t seen human’s in 10 years or so. Lo and behold within SECONDS of that conversation..who shows up???  a human!!! “Carver” (Kirk Acevedo) then does what..oh yeah..he shoots an ape. And so it goes..the beginning of plot where we all know what is going to happen as “Malcolm” (Jason Clarke), “Ellie”(Keri Russell), “Alexander”(Kodi Smit-McPhee) and “Koba” (Toby Kebbell -whom I loved as an actor since RocknRolla but sadly he’s all covered up as an ape) all show up along with Caesar, to stop any violence from further happening.  See the humans are there to try and get the dam that is located in the apes forest, working so they can have power. They strike a deal and just like as with so many deals that have been struck over time, it doesn’t pan out the way it’s supposed to. Surprise! Surprise!

Dawn-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes-Koba-character-poster

Just as Apes and Humans are not supposed to get along here, there are some ‘human-friendly’ apes and some ‘ape-friendly’ humans, who are both there to ensure that the day will be saved. There is not supposed to be any ‘ape on ape’ violence either. But Koba, an ape who was horribly mis-treated in labs by humans, absolutely hates humans and will do anything to make the other apes believe this. And sadly he does.  But we have “Dreyfus”(Gary Oldman), who is the human version of Koba and believes all apes are trying to kill us.  And the plot goes exactly as you think it will. A wrongly started War ensues when the apes get ahold of guns, but the truth has to come out and does.  There are no surprises in this plot.  One little part I found really funny, the apes are running in the now-defunct old BART system and comes up to some turnstiles, while they are apes and can leap-frog over them etc..one ape actually goes thru the turnstile like a human. I found that incredibly funny! Probably just me! ha!

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To wrap it up.. the movie is visually quite stunning, when they go to close-ups of the apes, there is no question in your mind that they are real. This is not the Roddy McDowell costume of the 70’s, though I did love those.  🙂  The story-line also gives off a few big, true-to-heart messages. The major one being, there is both good and bad in everything and pretty much every species, and no matter what, you give a species that can operate machinery a gun, and they will use it not only against you, but most likely against their own also.  In case anyone hasn’t figured it out, we are a destructive species.

Grade: C+

#peggyatthemovies

GRADING SCALE: A = OSCARWORTHY; B = ABOVE AVERAGE~MUST SEE; C= AVERAGE~SHOULD SEE; D = DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY; F = YEAH..NO DON’T SEE THE MOVIE.. ( + OR – ) GIVES IT A BIT UP OR DOWN