War for the Planet of the Apes

The final film in the ‘Planet of the Apes’ prequel trilogy is the best yet, a bleak, thoughtful war film with Andy Serkis at his best

War_for_the_Planet_of_the_Apes_posterI’m floored by “War for the Planet of the Apes.” It has been a point of contention among critics as to why a blockbuster such as this one should be so grave, serious and grim. But the ambition it takes to make a film about talking chimps so emotional, gripping and moving is staggering. That more Hollywood movies don’t strive to evoke “Apocalypse Now,” “Full Metal Jacket” and “Platoon” is a war crime. The horror, indeed.

This “Planet of the Apes” prequel trilogy has been an exercise in madness. Slowly we’ve seen Caesar grow and evolve from being a precocious and smart monkey in “Rise” to having the motion capture technology fully capture Andy Serkis’s simmering rage and intensity. “Dawn” opened with the apes living peacefully in the woods, building a society as human civilization has crumbled. Now that’s gone, and director Matt Reeves has put in its place a bleak fight for survival. Continue reading “War for the Planet of the Apes”

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Apes; they’re so much like us. They start off as promising, cute, smart and full of life, and it isn’t long before they’re dropped into the grim reality of the real world.

And so it goes with ape franchises. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was an unexpected gem, a film that served as a prequel on a technicality but was entirely its own story. The use of unrivaled motion capture visual effects was enhanced tenfold by the film’s careful knack for suspense, its crafty long takes and tracking shots, its creative action scenes, the wordless expressions of pathos and so much more.

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” could no longer be the somewhat whimsical and fantastical story and still be the dark and serious, world-impacting epic the blockbuster crowd expects. The apes have learned much from man, modeling even their most conventional stories in every way. Continue reading “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”