War For the Planet of the Apes is the first Planet of the Apes movie I’ve seen since the remake with Mark Wahberg. I was asked why I would start in a trilogy on the third film. The answer is: because that’s what came out this week. The other answer is because a film should stand on its own merits, even if it’s the third in a trilogy. You should never have to have seen/read/listened to something else, in order to enjoy a movie.
War for Planet of the Apes is 2 hours and 20 minutes long. At the beginning of the film came two little sentences neatly summarizing the previous two in the series. I wondered how long the other movies were – would War for the Planet of the Apes, for all its enormous length, be summarizable in a single sentence? Maybe. But WFTPOTA spends so much time building ts world, showing what’s going on and getting you invested. At first I thought it was just wankery but turns out not – the length of the movie is there to heighten the emotional investment for good reason to amazing effect.
This is very much a war movie. It’s hard to watch. There’s so much fighting, killing, imprisonment, etc, that it’s emotionally taxing. Apes don’t smile much at the best of times. There is some mild comedic relief, which was nice. But for all that, I can promise you it’s emotionally satisfying. I’m not going to say whether the ending is happy or sad but it WAS amazing. Good movies start by asking a question that has to be answered by the end of the film. And WFTPOTA answers the hell out of its question, point by bloody point.I loved the acting and the characters. In a movie such as this, make-up and CGI probably count towards what we might consider ‘acting’. Andy Serkis was wonderful as Caesar, Karin Konoval was wonderful as Maurice. Amiah Miller was heartbreaking as Nova. But my favorite was Timothy Zahn; without that Bad Ape I might not have made it to the end. And Woody Harrelson, (who had a shirtless scene – A for effort, I’ll take all the fanservice I can get) was a fantastic villain. I hated his character so hard even after I understood why he did the things he did.
So is War For the Planet of the Apes worth watching? Yes. Though steel yourself, it’s a tough ride. Definitely worth it. By the end of it I wanted to learn the ape sign language because of how cool it was. Funny thing, Caesar reminded me so much of Moses from the bible. I bet there’s many parallels between WFTPOTA and Exodus, which (unless I was seeing things) actually might have been deliberate. Anyway, it’s a great film. Now I have to watch the first two to catch up. I think they might have missed something in the summary.