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'War for the Planet of the Apes'

Caesar's Journey

By Camilo CaballeroPublished 7 years ago 3 min read

The rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise reaches its third installment, the final film in a trilogy driven by Andy Serkis' Caesar. Matt Reeves helms this epic masterfully, taking the series to new territory. After the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, men and apes are at war. Caesar has been forced into the conflict, not because he wanted to, but because he knows what man is capable of. We see him and his monkeys pitted against the ruthless Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson, who is bent over the extermination of ape-kind. Caesar must now face his own demons as he prepares for one last battle.

This entry in the series brings to a close one of the greatest character journeys we've seen in recent history. These films are very character driven, where the apes are even more human than the humans presented. Andy Serkis delivers once again a very strong performance as Caesar, and his development as a character continues being a powerfully captivating one. We see him struggle with the same demons that plagued Koba in the previous films, whose presence remains to be felt despite his absence. His tale reaches biblical magnitude, mimicking in more than one way the figure of Moses. Watching him from his birth back on Rise, seeing him grow on intelligence and become a fighter for ape freedom, later see him guiding the growth of civilization in Dawn, face treason and near-death experience, understanding mankind to an extent, and now as he wages war for the future of his race has been a wonderful spectacle. Andy Serkis deserves many awards for all three films.

Caesar must face his greatest challenge yet as he takes on the Colonel. Woody Harrelson turns in an excellent performance as this tortured man who's trying to ensure the survival of his species. The influence of Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now is quite clear, as Harrelson's ruthless colonel with god-complex resembles that played by Marlon Brando in the excellent Vietnam epic. Harrelson’s Colonel is definitely one of the most interesting human characters in this series, challenged probably only by Gary Oldman's Dreyfus in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In the end, the film is a battle between two leaders who have similar objectives. The final confrontation between the two is probably the film's strongest moment, as these two men come to grip the harshness of their realities.

The cinematography is breathtaking and the editing sharp and plot driven. The visual effects are amazing, the apes almost look unquestionably real, the CGI team did a great job. The story progresses in an organic fashion, expanding at the same time the mythology of the series. There are also nods to the classic series sprinkled around. There are some minor issues, mainly with some of the dialogues at the beginning (the fact that Caesar speaks to his own apes while the others communicate mainly through hand language bothers me personally), and while the inclusion of Bad Ape, a new comic relief type of character, does add some levity at points, there were others where the humour just falls short. His inclusion does bring something new to the franchise in terms of mythology.

The franchise is not over, there are already plans for future films, but with this trilogy coming to an end so does the journey of one of its most interesting and (ironically) human characters. While the original 1968 film starring Charlton Heston is still the strongest entry to date, the rebooted series does add some modern relevance and highly appreciated quality. Overall, War for the Planet of the Apes is a satisfying conclusion to a fantastic epic; what is yet to come from this franchise has big shoes to fill.

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About the Creator

Camilo Caballero

Colombian film student and aspiring filmmaker living in Germany

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    Camilo CaballeroWritten by Camilo Caballero

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