War for the Planet of the Apes - Review : DJ MACK

As a fan of all previous ape movies, starting with every version of my favorite film of all time, King Kong, and including Mighty Joe Young and the first two in this series, I have become something of an expert in the genre. So I feel quite confident in saying that this particular ape movie sucks out loud. Somehow it got wildly positive reviews from respected film critics and Woody Harrelson to star. And as a fan of Woody Harrelson, I can say, again with confidence, that he also sucks out loud in his role as Marlon Brando playing Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. Here's the movie: Apes and humans are at war. Humans want to kill all apes. So naturally apes want to kill humans. But deep down, apes are kind. They have big hearts. They adopt human girl they find cowering in shack after they killed her daddy. Now she all alone. Humans all bad and sadistic, except girl. She nice. Head ape is Caesar, played by human actor Andy Cerkis with apologies to Jesus Christ. Caesar is good leader. Captured by bad humans, he is strung up on a cross, in case you missed the Christ angle. Some apes speak English, only can't say articles so talk like this. Or else just grunt and breathe heavy, with subtitles. Caesar has best friend, ape name Maurice. Excuse me -- an orangutan named Maurice?
Unless you are waiting out a rainstorm or hiding from the police, War for the Planet of the Apes is a total waste of time. The one bright spot is the incredibly beautiful scenery; otherwise it has no redeeming qualities. It's a real dog. Woof. I kept wanting to leave, but stayed out of a perverse need to see if it got worse. It did, so I was glad I stayed. Leaving the theater, Mitch turned to me and said, a note of exasperation in his voice, "I guess from now on I'll have to take a larger role in deciding what movies we see."
I saw War of the Planet of the Apes two days ago. Forty-eight hours later, I’m still trying to think of what I didn’t like about the film. In an age of film where franchises try and cash in on sequel after dreaded sequel, The Planet of the Apes trilogy has sneakily become one of the greatest trilogies ever made. If War is the cherry on top, it’s the tastiest cherry I’ve had in awhile. In the wake of the last film, the war rages on between apes and humans as a new strain of virus threatens to eradicate all of mankind. Lead ape Caesar (Andy Serkis) is trying to get his followers to safety before the war overcomes them all. I can imagine that visual effects are a lot easier when trying to create something that isn’t real. When the audience has nothing to go on, it’s not as hard to suspend disbelief. That’s why I give so much credit to the visual effects crew handling the apes in this film. The realism and the sheer attention to detail is breathtaking. My eyes never got the better of the effects which allowed me to relax and enjoy the film the way it was meant to be seen. Everything from movements right down to the tiny details of facial expressions was perfect. From a visual standpoint, the scenery is also amazing. Beautiful caverns surrounded by waterfalls where the apes live and the mountain stronghold of the enemy army are just two of many awesome backdrops for the great war.
The pacing is darn near perfect. Seamless blend of action and story progression. By the time it’s over, you don’t feel like you’ve spent over two hours watching a film, rather it feels like an experience. Villains are hard to do well. A lot of villains in cinema history are one-dimensional with most of what we know about them being they’ve just always been the bad egg in the bunch. War, however, gives us a villain in Colonel (Woody Harrelson) with an actual motive. We still get the bad egg aspect (and, yes, you will probably leave the film hating him), but at least you get an understanding of why he feels justified in doing what he’s doing. In stories like these, things are seldom black and white. Just like life’s conflicts, there are reasons why both sides think they’re right. And just like life’s conflicts, it’s a shame that the black and white war between apes and humans couldn’t end in gray. Great story. Memorable characters that will stick out long after the film is over. Grand action that will keep you glued to your chair. It is so refreshing to see a trilogy get better with each film. I am happy to give War For the Planet of the Apes a well-deserved 95.

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