The first observation to make about the War for the Planet of the Apes, is that it is not actually about a war. There are a few Skirmishes for the Planet of the Apes, and a brief Battle of the Planet of the Apes, but the human-v-hairies conflict as the title promises, it is nowhere to be seen. And this is one of the reasons why the film, for all its technical prowess and the boldness of solemnity, is a disappointment.
To begin with, however, it seems as if it’s going to be a war film. The third film in the rebooted Apes series, the War for the Planet of the Apes is set 15 years after a ” flu simian’ has wiped out most of the homo sapiens on Earth while increasing the brain power of our big-eared, long-armed cousins. Civilization as we know it no longer exists, but a tribe of smart apes have established a comfortable camp in the forest.
The tribe of the wise man is the leader of the franchise of the hero, Caesar (Andy Serkis). Now married with children, and with a bit of grey in his fur, he just wants to relax and work on his banana recipes. But then the camp is attacked by a commando of the man of the team, and it is time for some actions of guerrilla (and gorilla warfare) with many allusions to Vietnam: the writers are particularly fond of the double meaning of “Kong”.
If you’re not a fan of watching the primates pony-trekking holidays, you may wonder when the plot will get underway
These scenes are brutally effective, and they introduce some clever ideas: several treacherous monkeys, nicknamed “Donkeys” after the arcade game Donkey Kong, are willing to work with humans. But the jungle combat segment is completed too quickly. After a bullet to the head of the army colonel (Woody Harrelson) the murders of two of Caesar’s parents, Caesar and three of his acolytes to leave the house and go on a revenge mission. First of all, they have worked riding through the snowy mountains in search of the colonel of the base. Then they stop and take another sidekick, before doing some more difficult. And then they stop again and pick a different henchman, before the trolling begins again. The desert landscapes are beautiful, but Caesar and the others are terribly slow progress through them. If you’re not a fan of watching the primates pony-trekking holidays, you may wonder when the plot will get underway.
‘Chicken Run with monkeys
The first half of the movie before Caesar tracks the colonel to a hell of the concentration camp, where hundreds of monkeys are locked in cages. At this point, the movie changes genres, once more. After having been a guerrilla-war film, and then a quest film, it becomes a prison-break film. As horrible as some of the imagery is, however, it is fundamentally artificial, and the cliché of the prison-break movie, with a convenient network of tunnels to the right in the concentration camp, and armed guards, who are kind enough to vanish into thin air every time that Caesar has required of them. As one of my friends: “It’s just Chicken Run with monkeys.”
What is disappointing about all this is that the Planet of the Apes franchise is so impressive in many ways. None of the three films (so far) has beaten the 1968 original, but they are all about 87 times smarter than Tim Burton’s grotesque 2001 ” re-imagining’. The director and co-writer of the last two episodes, Matt Reeves, has made some particularly daring choice. The tone of his films is decidedly dark, and a large part of the dialogue is sub-titled: Caesar side, the apes communicate in grunts and sign language. The CGI is terribly advanced, too. The texture of the leathery skin and thick hair are so convincing that you quickly forget that you’re watching actors in motion-capture suits. You feel as if you are watching real live apes, even if these monkeys are carriers of assault rifles and riding horses.
The war for the Planet of the Apes has nothing to say about the society today, in the sign language or otherwise
But the script falls far short of its tremendous visual effects, and his remarkable atmosphere. In narrative terms, it is quite small and insignificant for a movie with “Planet” in the title. The colonel turns out to have nothing to do with the U.S. government or any type of organizing a network of resistance: it is the only crackpot with a zeal for the slaughter, and philosophical monologues, and a small group of soldiers under his command. (The film jokes about his resemblance to Colonel Kurtz in ‘Ape-Pocalypse Now ” to display on the wall of a tunnel.) A new strain of the flu, simian, during this time, wash the floor, the last of the human race. What this means is that the war for the planet is nearly complete. It doesn’t really matter if Caesar defeated the colonel and you can probably guess, if it is no – because humans are the way of the dinosaurs what happens. Is this something that we should be happy? All in all, the monkeys seem to be perfectly decent job, but virtually none of them were distinctive or engaging personalities, so why should we care if they inherit the earth?
In theme, the film is rather insignificant, too. The previous instalment, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, had characters – the monkey and the man with the complex of motivations and difficult dilemmas, and a plot that has examined why violence is counter-productive and yet so difficult to avoid. But the War for the Planet of the Apes has nothing to say about the society today, in the language of signs or the opposite. The colonel can pose next to a flag of the united states, and it may force her monkey slaves to build a huge wall, but those who are looking for Asset from the time of the comment policy will not find much else.
Too dark to offer a great number of summer-blockbuster thrills, but too stupid to be an art-house allegory, the film is best left to completists. It is simply not a very deep or moving movie – although it does sometimes epa.