The new series of Planet of the Apes movies, which started in 2011 is one of the better franchises in the past few years. Thanks to amazing special effects and strong stories Rise and Dawn were a joy to watch. War for the Planet of the Apes is the end of this trilogy. Does this manage to close it as strong as it started?
After the fragile peace between humans and apes was shattered by chimpanzee Koba in the previous film the humans were able to send out a distress call for extra troops, Caesar (Andy Serkis) is no longer safe. He has found a safe place for his group, but the people have been trying to find him for years. When they are finally discovered they are attacked and some apes are killed. Caesar wants to take revenge by himself, while the rest of the group start their journey to a safer place. A number of apes join Caesar and together they search for the general (Woody Harrelson) who is responsible for the attack.
War for the Planet of the Apes manages to tell a convincing and moving story. Which is impressive when you realize that maybe ninety percent of the movie consists of CGI characters interacting with each other. These are so realistic that you feel their vast range of emotions and there isn’t a moment you doubt that they are real. The detail in the characters is astounding. It’s clear that director Matt Reeves has been inspired by movie classics like The Great Escape and Apocalypse Now, as Woody Harrelson’s character will strongly remind you of colonel Kurtz. That’s not a bad thing however, as these inspirations are turned into something which takes the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster.
The film even has a couple of comedic moments thanks to a new character, Bad Ape (Steve Zahn), who is fun initially but later in the movie feels like he shouldn’t be there (although it’s never Jar Jar level). Also the addition of a human character, a young girl who can’t talk, doesn’t add anything to the story. She only seems to be there so specific plot points can happen, but as a character she is underdeveloped. Despite those minor nitpicks this closing part of the trilogy offers both spectacle and small, personal moments and ends the series on a strong note.