This review is late because it’s taken me all this time to decide how to tell you that Sean and I went to see this at the drive-in but I got so baked I have no idea what the movie is about or if I enjoyed it. After days and days of deliberation I think I’ll go with “Ehh, another movie about a talking monkey, who gives a shit” That’s pretty smooth camouflage, right?
I mean, those are probably my true honest feelings because I’ve never been into this franchise. I checked out the moment a trailer showed me an ape riding a horse and I am physically incapable of checking back in. But all my lovely review compatriots have been talking this one up like crazy, like it’s an actual, honest-to-Heston good movie. And I believe them, sort of.
Here’s what Sean and I were able to cobble together over lobster BLTs on the patio:
- Caesar, the leader of the apes, has decided to move his congregation to a nicer locale because presumably real estate just got too damn expensive in San Francisco.
- He sends the majority through the desert (?) toward ape shangri-la, but he and a few trusty sidekicks stay behind to confront the Evil Colonel and settle a personal vendetta.
- The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) really hates the apes, and is really afraid of turning into them. He’s gone rogue though.
- The real army hates the Colonel as much as the Colonel hates apes. The Colonel has enslaved some apes to build a wall that doesn’t help him all that much come Go Time.
Is that about it? I’ve got the gist, right? The story didn’t connect with me whatsoever but even in my distracted state I thought the CGI was crazy-good. I usually hate movies like The Jungle Book where I know I’m just watching a cartoon but I didn’t really feel that way in this movie. The motion-capture technology is pretty stellar and Andy Serkis is doing top-notch work. The Special Achievement Oscar was given out from 1973-1995 in recognition of achievements that made exceptional contributions to the motion picture for which they were created, but for which there was no annual award. The last year it was given it went to John Lasseter for his leadership of the Pixar team that birthed Toy Story. Maybe it’s time to dust that award off for the work that Serkis in particular has done with performance capture.
That’s all well and good but I think we can all agree that these pretty words are just frosting meant to cover up the fact that I forgot to bake the cake. If you really need to know more about War For the Planet of the Apes, please follow these links to people who paid better attention than I did:
The Film Blog calls it “a hugely satisfying round off to a superlative trilogy.”
Movie Man Jackson calls it “emotional-drama first, action-blockbuster second.”
The Craggus saw it and called it his “new favourite Apes movie and the benchmark by which I’ll be measuring the rest of 2017’s offerings.”
Jason called it a “sheer cinematic achievement in film.”
Bad Bloke Bob called it a “a tonal masterclass.”
Steve J Donahue reluctantly admits it’s “a crowd pleaser” but actually pleases me with his faint praise.
Polar Bears insist “this apes trilogy isn’t just a good blockbuster trilogy; it’s damn good filmmaking overall.”
Sarah finds “much to like about this film.”
Society Reviews called it “uninspiring” and had the same problem with the wall that I did. So ha!
Keith Loves Movies found influences from “The Revenant, Saving Private Ryan, The Shawshank Redemption, and Silence.”
Nerd Feed calls Caesar “one of the greatest cinematic characters we’ve ever seen.”
Andy gives it 5 “damn dirty apes!” out of 10.
Adam found it “wonderfully charming” but noted an “exaggerated runtime.”