War for the Planet of the Apes is the third instalment in the new Planet franchise, with it being the last of the trilogy, the writing is on the wall – with the word “War” in the title clearly indicating this is the end of the line for some of the characters we have followed over the past couple of years. This happens to be one of the most under-rated trilogies, with it constantly being over-looked by the Academy and Andy Serkis never getting the credit he deserves. Nevertheless, we pick up two years after the events of Dawn, and we find Caesar and the apes living in fear, Woody Harrison is the latest addition as Colonel McCollough – a human hellbent on tracking down them down, because of this Caesar plans to move location, but unbeknownst to Caesar – his life is about to be flipped on its head, as he realises he isn’t the human’s only problem…
Reviewbury has been going on for a week so I thought that I would celebrate this landmark through something I consider to be the most under-rated trilogy of all time – the Planet of the Apes The first two films were incredible and I would happily say that they are the best Ape films I have seen in my lifetime. So I had high expectations for this film, I mean – really high, and it is often hard to separate expectations from reality. I have given War for the Planet of the Apes a 7.5 out of 10 – a B, because it is my least favourite in the trilogy, the second did so well in setting the stage for a fight, and the way this went about it, it just felt like a cop-out and not exactly what I wanted. That being said, I love conclusions, and this may be one of the best conclusion for character I have ever seen.
(more than just a few spoilers incoming)
A little more on why I felt slightly disappointed with this film, I wanted to see a full-out war between the apes and humans, whilst I felt the Caesar wanted revenge, I think the attention of it being a war between the two parties was taken away as this virus was introduced, don’t get me wrong, I loved what came of the Colonel and I loved how the story line of the virus was planted over the three films but I wanted to see a war that I don’t think we got. Something the second manages to do brilliant (and I will get on to) is that it never tells you want side to be on, but as they make the Colonel a mad man, who isn’t that concerned with fighting the apes because they are trying to fight the other soldiers who want to kill them, it makes me want the Colonel to die.
Lets split the trilogy up, the first film is him finding his way, starting the revolution, the second film was him trying to live peacefully; finding out that he can’t and he has to go to war with the humans and then the third starts so well with his wife and son dying and it was so perfect because Woody Harrison had me so excited but then it was sort of like a cop-out. I still enjoyed the film, but I would’ve loved it if a full-out war had happened, that being said, it was a war for Caesar – and I really did like how he realised he had become just like Kuba. One of the problems I had with the second film was that it felt like it was just setting up for the third, for the showdown between the humans and apes, however it never seemed like a fight between the two of them. The humans didn’t like the Colonel and so we never got to see what the humans thought about Caesar, and plus it just felt like it was leading into the fourth! With the men coming North to fight the Colonel.
At certain times, it felt just like a re-hash of the second with the apes looking after the a little girl. That being said, one of the biggest problems this had been with balance. The second was great because there were really important human characters, and we followed them, whereas in this film all we had was the Colonel and the soldier you thought would help Caesar in the end. The second was so great because as we are humans it was hard for us to not want them to win, but we also loved Caesar, but giving us an evil madman in the Colonel was not relatable.
Now, believe it or not – I still did really like this film, I have it a 7.5 after all! Where do we start if it is not the scene we were all expecting, Caesar’s death. I think it was a beautiful send off, and it was incredible how he died with the story being complete. When I finished watching the film, I asked whether I would’ve liked maybe a passionate death, where he saves his apes and dies at the hands of the Colonel. But, what I loved about the film, is that the story is done, they have got to the “paradise”, and Caesar has got the revenge he craved. His death definitely nearly brought a tear to my eyes.
Before we continue with what I loved in the film, I wanted to talk a little about the characters. Caesar is Caesar, meaning Andy Serkis is Andy Serkis and he is once again incredible in this film, the supporting cast is also good, the backbone of the franchise is still there and it works. But, the new recruit in Woody Harrison is a hard one, this had everything, I mean – everything going for it, first off; it is Woody Harrison! Secondly, the trailer got me so excited when he said: “it will be a planet of apes” – so I couldn’t wait to see him. But, the way they make him into a villain takes away the ability to relate to him. I did love Woody Harrison and he had one of my favourite scenes, but as a character, I would’ve liked something a little more relatable. And of course, the new addition of Bad Ape was incredible.
And moving onto that scene, it was a massive pay-off, because as he is a villain we want to see him die, but he is also conflicted, and in some weird way we feel his pain, he had to kill his son because the virus will kill them all, and the one thing he was scared off, and the reason he killed his son he ended up contracting and so it was a massive pay-off I also loved his scene, where he admits to Caesar that he didn’t mean to kill his family he only wanted him! His family’s death was definitely a shock, as I expected his son to take over his mantle in the end.
Probably the question the studio is asking right now is: “Where do we go from here”, and it is a hard decision. Any attempt to continue the story, could result in it ruining a great franchise, with a film not that many people want. But, if the fourth could maybe, fill in gaps in the franchise as a whole, maybe in between those ten years during Rise and Dawn, and let us see it from the human’s perspective or ……. just skip to Tim Burton’s one with Mark Wahlberg!