War, huh, good god ya’ll! What is it good for?
Making films about Apes taking over the earth by all accounts. Oh and that Dunkirk thingy of which a Mini Meh is forthcoming. Oh how you will hate me after that one…..
But first I must present some finding on War of the Planet of the Apes. It’s is the third in the modern run of the long running film series where at this point, pretty much it’s all gone a bit wrong for humanity. There’s also still no one moaning on a beach asking why they blew it all up yet. I’ve also been calling this film a number of names leading up to actually watching it; Journey to the Centre of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for Planet of the Apes, Apes gone wild…. no wait, forget that last one, you won’t like what you find if you search on Google for that title.
There should be a disclaimer to begin with here, My interest in this wasn’t exactly massive either. You see, I’ve not seen the second of the new Planet of the Apes films, therefore there were references to some bad ape from the last film I think which kept coming up in this and therefore I was a tad lost on his significance to the visions the main protagonist Caesar had. But overall, that didn’t matter and I just carried on with the viewing whenever that reared it’s damned dirty head. (ha ha….. old film reference)
Caesar, in case you’re wondering, is the leader of the evolved apes from the first Modern release; Rise of the Planet of the Apes. For those who needed the recap, that film showed us science going a bit wrong when attempting to cure various ailments of the head. The experiment actually began to evolve the apes to be at the same intelligence level as humanity.
This also lead to a worldwide plague and now the timeline for this film appears to be at the point where humanity has lost ground and in fact are losing the battle for survival. Actually, there are very few humans spotted throughout the film, as this film truly does now focus on the apes directly. The apes in fact at this point, are the good guys of the whole affair now with the humans being the cruel, heartless evildoers. Quite an interesting role reversal and one I actually liked.
So Caesar has a family now and they are all preparing to head off to safety away from the humans to start a new life in a lovely green valley with water and probably a Tesco’s for all their shopping needs. But this all falls apart when Woody Harrelson (The Colonel) and his band of motley soldiers come into their cave and kill various apes, including some of Caesar’s family.
This causes Caesar to go ape (I had to, I’m so sorry) and hunt them down for revenge while the tribe of apes go to the lovely green valley with the Tesco SuperMarket. But some friends come with him and along the way, they meet a mute girl and take her with them. Once they find the humans however, not all is well, and in fact become grim.
I have to say, the acting is quite good, the story very simple and the special effects are just amazing. In fact, they are the most impressive I’ve seen to date within the Planet of the Apes modern revival series. The motion capture work done by Andy Serkis and others is just outstanding here and the amount the apes say without talking is remarkable. Perhaps coming into uncanny valley territory, I cannot see how they could ever improve on the work here.
Given the humans were more animal in this film than the apes, I really enjoyed the role reversal and was firmly onside with the apes to succeed against the odds. Woody Harrelson was a real stand-out as the Colonel, his reasons for going after the apes was understandable fear and survival kicking in, but it truly was horrific how he wanted to achieve that. The slight twist about the mute girl and what was happening to humanity at the same time was also good, and there was a moment with both Woody and Caesar which I will not forget. You could understand both the characters so well in that moment.
So good simple story, excellent effects and acting, well produced; I can only conclude that this was worth watching. Given my lack of care about the series, this film in a way made me want to go back to the second film to see if there was the higher quality there that I didn’t really get from Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It will fill in some of the small gaps here and there, but the fact that I got into it, with a piece of the puzzle missing and it didn’t matter, in a way goes to speak volumes about this film as it stands. A great summer film and if this is the end of the Planet of the Apes as it seems to be, then they went out on a high.
But not the high everyone gets when they get to the Tesco Supermarket! (Tesco, pay me for name dropping you in a mini meh! Now dammit!)