War for the Planet of the Apes

Out Now On-Demand

For freedom. For family. For the planet.

Following Rise and Dawn, this third film in the modern Planet of the Apes trilogy sees Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his kind at war with an army of humans - led by a ruthless man known as the Colonel (Woody Harrelson). Matt Reeves, director of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, returns to the helm as does screenwriter Mark Bomback.


Directed by

Written by

Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, War, Blockbuster


Rating: M Violence & content that may disturb


Forget your usual blockbuster fare like cities getting flattened or aliens punching each other, the greatest special effect in War for the Planet of the Apes is a close-up of a chimp’s face. The collaboration between Andy Serkis and the digital artists that create Caesar is still miraculous, and watching him silently grapple with a decision is just as compelling as any super-powered slug-fest, if not more so.

This third instalment certainly holds itself like a war film, starting with a Dirty Dozen-style apes-on-a-mission story before turning into something more like The Great Escape. As per the genre, the tone is grave, even more so than last time.

It also features the first real bad guy in these films. Woody Harrelson’s Colonel is thoroughly unhinged but, as per this thoughtful franchise, he’s still given plenty of nuance. Comic relief is provided by another new character, an estranged Zoo chimp called Bad Ape. Played by Steve Zahn, he’s instantly adorable, then increasingly annoying.

The movie is blunt with its politics - enslaved apes are whipped as The Star Spangled Banner plays, and the finale sees an American flag literally go up in flames. Meanwhile War for the Planet of the Apes keeps upending expectations, ending with a series of rug-pulls and a pleasant whiff of subversion. It’s a fantastic finish to a brainy trilogy that favours moral dilemmas over explosions, but finds room for a few of those too.

TimeOut (US)


Apart from pulling off the unique trick of having us root for human extinction, War foregrounds a beautiful tension between the savage instinct for retribution and higher restraint -- ironically fought within the heart of an animal.

Empire (UK)


After the last film's ballistic finale, it would have been easy for Matt Reeves to sit back and hurl fur and fireballs at the screen for two hours... [but] War is a more subtle beast than its title implies.

Hollywood Reporter


Almost as rare as winning the Triple Crown in horse racing is to make a film trilogy that clicks from beginning to end, but Fox has pretty much pulled it off with its refurbished Planet of the Apes trio.

Total Film (UK)


Artfully shot and mournfully scored, there's no denying the craft that's been poured into this, even if it's set to be one of the summer's more heavy-going blockbusters.

The Guardian (UK)


It's an engrossing, forthright adventure.

Variety (USA)


If you already find yourself on the side of the "Apes" enthusiasts ... then "War" will likely be a mind-blowing experience, upping the ante via both its bleeding-edge visual effects and the grim self-seriousness of Reeves' approach.

Screen International


A clever, well-acted summer blockbuster which is an involving cross between a classic Western revenge and a war movie, dropping somewhere between The Searchers, Platoon and Watership Down, if that can be imagined.

Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)


Surely Wellington's Weta will be collecting plenty of silver and goldware come early 2018. For they have delivered the 2017 blockbuster we've all been waiting for.

Extreme Perfection

Love what they have achieved with these franchise movies..what a journey. This was so enjoyable I've watched this a few times. Excellent storyline


It's powerful, heartfelt and entertaining; concluding this master trilogy with top class.

A Sci-Fi masterpiece that tackles and delves into interesting new themes.

War for the Planet of the Apes is directed and written by Matt Reeves and stars Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson. This film concludes the trilogy created by the two acclaimed films that it follows. This film is able to both be an original war movie, whilst also blending themes and imagery that hasn't quite been seen often. It does this in a rather refreshing way, that thankfully doesn't come off as pretentious, but is rather captivating.

The main conflict between Apes and Humans is set up rather smoothly, showing the differences between the two ideologies, and these conflicting themes are shown in the beginning and linked towards the climax of the film.

Serkis is phenomenal in the film and gives a convincing portrayal of a character who is pressured and troubled but is also selfless. The film utilizes this aspect of the character towards driving the plot, as Ceaser's character arcs shape the story. By doing this, the main theme of civilization is addressed by the film, through Ceaser's leadership.

As the film progresses, it flows naturally, allowing each and every main character to feel welcome and have significance to the story. This also drives the plot and the main themes of the film, as we see why "Apes together" is "strong," as it were.

From a technical standpoint; the script is rich in captivating and conflicting energy; Matt Reeve's directing is mesmerizing, particularly in action sequences and more emotional sequences; and the score perfectly reflects the main tones of the scenes throughout the film.

To conclude, War for the Planet of the Apes is a film that flawlessly bends rich themes of humanity with its characters and action, in order to produce a thoughtful and thought-provoking display of Sci-Fi glory. You will almost certainly leave the theatre amazed.

The CGI is practically perfect

Apart from some noticeable aspects with regards to physics, the CGI is amazing. Breathtaking. I find myself forgetting that these are actors. Instead I start to believe I am actually watching apes. Plot-wise, "War" is surprisingly more emotional than action-packed. The trailer had me expecting a massive scale human-ape conflict to occur, but that was not quite the case. Still an amazingly emotional flick that had me invested (and did a great job incorporating aspects from the original set of films), but certainly had a much different tone compared to the trailers.

Ape-reciate this fine epic

I loved the first in this new trilogy, the second left me cold (aside from the impressive ape CGI), and now the third rocks up and scores a slam dunk. Both the director (Matt Reeves) and writer (Mark Bomback) of Dawn return and their input raises the bar again. Weta Digital’s ape CGI is next level, rendering Andy Serkis and his fellow performers every subtle nuance, and creating true performance capture.

The titular war is between Caesar’s apes and a human army, led by “The Colonel” (Woody Harrelson at his sociopathic best, channelling Brando’s Kurtz from Apocalypse Now.)

Beautifully lensed in the manner of a traditional gritty war epic (think Hacksaw Ridge, only with more monkeys), the only irritant is Steve Zahn’s character, Bad Ape. A former zoo inmate, he’s clearly intended as comic relief, but often feels jarringly out of place. Still, Bad Ape doesn’t reach anything like Jar-Jar Binks levels of annoying, so it’s a minor gripe.

Just like the first movie in the trilogy, War respectfully tips its hat to the original Planet of the Apes movies in intelligent and often surprising ways, working as race metaphor, social commentary, political allegory and a damn fine genre movie of the epic war variety.

An excellent end to the trilogy, over which I’m only too happy to go apeshit.




Outstanding movie

Such a great awesome movie that truly keeps your attention from the very first second to the very last. Awesome story line, outstanding visual effects! And Weta Workshop's (Wellington) involvement is incredible.