Let it first be said that I’m late to this particular Simian bandwagon. It was only a few months ago that I first watched Rise (of the Planet of the Apes) and Dawn (see past brackets) and was utterly astounded at the level of storytelling achieved by CG Apes (led by Andy Serkis, natch) and a few stand out human performances. I loved both films, but felt Dawn was an improvement over it’s predecessor for fleshing out the world the Apes create and the characters of the Apes themselves.
After the events of Dawn the Apes find themselves hunted by a human army led by a ruthless Colonel (played by Woody Harrelson) the Apes must face the onslaught of the humans and find a new home before their complete annihilation.
First off, this film is bloody beautiful. The direction, the effects around the Apes, the locations. Matt Reeves truly brought this world to life, his director of photography also deserves a mention for finding the perfect angle for every shot, under the instruction of Reeves I’m certain, not a second of screen-time is wasted.
Of course, a special mention must be given to Andy Serkis, who has brought the franchise’s main primate, Caesar to life so effortlessly and skilfully, he had well and truly staked his claim as the king of MoCap long before this trilogy even arrived, but his reputation has been bolstered no end by his career-making (had it not been for Gollum) turn in these films, Caesar has had more of an arc in three films than many human characters go through in many other efforts from Hollywood.
So after blowing smoke up the director and star’s arse for two paragraphs, is War any good? Yes, incredibly so. I can’t remember a trilogy of such ascending quality, maybe Lord of the Rings, but that had the advantage of a stellar story already being there, this series has built everything it has from scratch, and how rare is it in Hollywood that sequels are made because they had a story to tell and not as a blind attempt at making money? It truly is a special series of such high quality that anyone attempting to make a fourth must be brave or mad to carry the weight of this near-perfect trilogy on his/her back.
It also must be mentioned, that the score for this movie is incredible. Scored by Michael Giacchino, he who scored Star Wars: Rogue One to great success, again succeeds greatly here in creating the atmosphere required to carry the weight of this story, it’s worth noting that his score for Dawn was stellar too.
I don’t do scores for reviews, as I don’t believe a complex opinion can be boiled down to a number, so I depend on recommending a movie or not, informing cinema visits for all who read, and my advice here would be, if you’ve seen the first two, go as soon as possible, if you haven’t, watch the first two, then go and watch this, you will thank me later.