War for the Planet of the Apes Review
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It’s been almost half of a century since the release of the original Planet of the Apes. But with War for the Planet of the Apes, the third film in the series reboot, director Matt Reeves uses updated technology to make a new adventure that still feels like a classic.

War for the Planet of the Apes continues the battle between ape and man—a battle that the apes’ leader, Caesar (Andy Serkis), doesn’t want. Still, he’s constantly hunted by the Colonel (Woody Harrelson), his loyal soldiers, and their Donkeys—apes who choose to work for the humans. Caesar tries to offer peace between the two warring groups, but when the Colonel takes away his family, Caesar sends the apes to a new home as he sets out on his own mission to get his revenge.

During the summer, theaters are loaded with big, noisy, action-packed movies—and, lately, a whole lot of them have been some kind of reboot, remake, or sequel. But while many of those films seem all too confident that they’re improving on the original, War for the Planet of the Apes puts extra effort into maintaining a more classic feel. That’s not to say that it doesn’t have plenty of action and adventure. There are still big, breathtaking battle sequences, with man fighting ape in striking wooded settings. But there’s so much more to this film than just its action sequences and effects.

  
 
Almost everything here feels grand and dramatic—from its epic battles to its thought-provoking story. As Caesar continues his quest, he struggles with his feelings of anger and his need for revenge following the devastating loss of his family. He’s haunted by memories of vengeful ape Koba (Toby Kebbell). And he’s shown love and forgiveness by a mute young orphan girl (Amiah Miller) who joins the apes on their journey.

While other filmmakers may have turned the classic series into a massive spectacle—complete with over-the-top characters and futuristic weapons—everything here feels like it comes from another time. The only thing here that’s completely new and updated is the film’s remarkable visual effects. And the only goofiness comes from Steve Zahn’s Bad Ape, an ape in human clothes who escaped from a nearby zoo. But while you won’t get a whole lot of laughs from this primate thriller, you’ll definitely get plenty of action and drama.

Of course, if you’re expecting noise and over-the-top effects, you may be disappointed by War for the Planet of the Apes. The classic feel may seem a little too serious for audiences who prefer robots and superheroes, but it’s certainly smarter and more moving than the average summer blockbuster.


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