Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Directed by Matt Reeves
Starring Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, and Amiah Miller
Film Review by Niall Maggs
War for the Planet of the Apes is the third entry into the new rebooted Planet of the Apes series, following our main character Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his companions as they fight a war with the humans. The reboot trilogy is one of the best ever made and can easily be ranked up there with The Dark Knight series and Lord of the Rings. They’re so well crafted with excellent, modern CGI that looks unbelievably realistic and authentic.
Expectations were extremely high considering the two surprisingly brilliant predecessors, and it definitely delivers on every level with excellent action sequences, interesting character development, elements of comedy, and emotion.
The plot was thought-provoking and manages to create a conflict between good and evil, and gives us a dilemma of who is in the wrong: the Apes, or the humans? This is done so effectively as the audience will change and alter their opinion multiple times during the movie, as characters express their argument, such as: who started it? Who is being more brutal and ruthless? These questions are brought up throughout War for the Planet of the Apes, making the audience question even their own opinion! This is evidence of excellent direction from filmmaker Matt Reeves.
Serkis as Caesar is phenomenal, he gives the audience someone to root for while also appearing badass and intimidating. He’s clearly into the role and it shows through his adaptable voice catering for different situations. He brings out a variation of emotion from the audience, proof of what a brilliant, versatile actor he is.
Woody Harrelson as the Colonel is scary and intimidating, he is cruel and heartless, which is cultivated through the excellent writing; making the audience hate him with a passion. Woody is on top form, and gives us an evil portrayal of a despicable, deranged psychopath. The other stand out performance was from Amiah Miller. She is absolutely great in this role, and at such a young age, she shows great promise in acting. Her performance was so original and realistic, and not stereotypical in any way, as her character is complex, which enhances the overall feel and tone of the movie.
The pacing was slightly inconsistent in the second act, as it did drag a little bit in parts, but the first and third acts really make up for the small pacing issue that really doesn’t affect the film much anyway! The score by Michael Giacchino is intense and powerful, and the editing was consistent and smooth, and wasn’t jarring (thankfully!). The digital shooting and production is realistic but fantastical, which creates a brilliant cinema-going and transcendent experience!
The script was just as good as the films in the series which came before, and includes sections of humour that lightens the dark tone. It’s also entertaining and fun, and the dialogue between the characters is tense in situations, but also light-hearted and comedic!
Overall, War for the Planet of the Apes is one of the best movies of the year, and takes you on an emotional, heart-breaking journey that closes this masterful trilogy perfectly, and one that will stay with you for a very long time.