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War for the Planet of the Apes

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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.

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.

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Directed by Matt Reeves ('Dawn of the Planet of the Apes', 'Cloverfield', 'Let Me In')

Starring Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, Karin Konoval, Amiah Miller, Terry Notary

Rated M, Violence & content that may disturb | 2:20 | Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller, War, Blockbuster |

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Flicks REVIEW

By Tony Stamp

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... Read more

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.

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THE PEOPLE’S REVIEWS (4 Ratings, 2 Reviews)
Ape-reciate this fine epic 4/5 stars.

By adamatdramatrain

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... Read more

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. Hide
Outstanding movie 5/5 stars.

By nigelb

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... Read more

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. Hide
CRITICS REVIEW
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... Read more

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. Hide
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... Read more

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. Hide
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... Read more

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. Hide
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... Read more

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. Hide
The Guardian (UK)

It's an engrossing, forthright adventure.

It's an engrossing, forthright adventure. Hide
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... Read more

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. Hide
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,... Read more

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. Hide
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... Read more

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. Hide

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