Review: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Fig. 1 War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) Movie Poster

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) is the third and final part of a trilogy that has gained a lot of fans due to how successful and surprising the previous two films were. Matt Reeves returns as Director, who was able to take this franchise into a different direction after taking over from Rupert Wyatt to direct the second film -  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014). So, is War for the Planet of the Apes a worthy conclusion to this story, and does it do what so few third instalments have done and be the best of the three?

Fig.2 Caeser (Played Andy Serkis)

It is fair to say that the film's protagonist, Caeser, who is played by Andy Serkis, has gone through quite a journey and is at a point in his existence where he is in full control of the Apes, who is both respected and feared by members of both the Apes and the Humans. Andy Serkis once again provides an incredible and, at times, emotional performance. He demonstrates his various talents here by making it clear to us exactly what and how he is feeling. His familiarity with motion capture acting is well-known, particular his portrayal of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, and it's because of this that he has become a Master in this area. Serkis is able to use every muscle and minor movement in his face to give such complexity to his performance, which makes this CG character feel so real and relatable, as a result.

The evolution in Motion Capture and Special effects in the past few years is very clear here, also. The first film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was released in 2011 and a significant improvement in technology is demonstrated here. War for the Planet of the Apes without doubt has some of best Visual FX ever to grace the big screen. The Apes are captured to an unbelievable level, meaning at times that it is easy to forget that it is all created on a computer. The Visual FX studio, WETA Digital, should quite rightly be praised for the amount of work and dedication that they have put into this film. 

Fig.3 The Colonel (Played by Woody Harrelson) and his followers

Whereas in the previous two films which were relatively well balanced between scenes between Humans and scenes between Apes, War for the Planet of the Apes is very focused on the Apes and their journey, which means that there isn't much time given to explore the Human characters. While a few characters are a bit generic and are seemingly extras, Woody Harrelson provides the film with an incredibly menacing Villain, simply known as the Colonel. We learn so little about him and yet his feelings towards the Apes is clear. He is very ruthless and unpredictable, making moments between himself and Caeser very suspenseful as we have no idea what he'll do next. Although he is quite an unlikable man, there are some very "Human" elements to his character, which makes as understand his point of view, even if we don't agree with it.

Fig.4 Caeser (Middle) and 2 of his followers

If a film is able to get you to relate and care for a Computer generated talking Ape and his family, and then make us want him to beat the Humans, then it it is fair to say that it achieves what it sets out to do. War for the Planet of the Apes is an incredible end to the trilogy, and with the use of some of the best Visual FX of all time, it could easily be argued as being the best of the three. 

Illustration List:
Fig. 1 War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) Movie Poster - (Accessed 14/07/2017)

Fig.2 Caeser (Played Andy Serkis) - (Accessed 14/07/2017)

Fig.3 The Colonel (Played by Woody Harrelson) and his followers - (Accessed 14/07/2017)

Fig.4 Caeser (Middle) and 2 of his followers - (Accessed 14/07/2017)


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