Greetings my beloved intrepid moviegoers. Ever seen a beautiful movie that pulled on your heartstrings and made you think about the world and life more seriously after watching it? Well, that was the case for me!
“War for the Planet of the Apes” is a touching movie about heroism, courage and virtue. Matt Reeves and Mark Bomback are geniuses. In this short review I explain why.
The plot revolves around Caesar and his apes who have just recovered from a simian civil war (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and have made camp peacefully in the forest. Human soldiers, along with ape servants (surprising!) attack them and slaughter many of the apes. Caesar’s reinforcements arrive just in time to destroy the aggressors. In a fit of mercy, Caesar releases the soldiers to return to their leader to tell them to back off.
A small covert team of soldiers, led by their Colonel, return in the night and kills Caesar’s mate, Cornelia, and eldest son, Blue Eyes. Enraged, Caesar commits to killing the Colonel personally and sends his people away to refuge in the south. Caesar is joined by his faithful guard Luca, Rocket and the ever-wise Maurice. Together the apes set off on a powerful journey of retribution for the survival of their kind. What Caesar finds is more than he bargained for.
The pacing of this movie was brilliant; it featured many moments of small interwoven character and plot development. For examples, finding the mute yet gentle Nova, meeting the whimsical ‘Bad-Ape’ (who tells them of the human border) and the poignant heart-to-heart talk between Caesar and the Colonel (where he tells Caesar he murdered his own son to save the human race). These moments weren’t too long and they all had purpose that the film built on.
Caesar is a convincing protagonist. His portrayal is nothing short of inspiring. Caesar is silent, taciturn, introspective, resilient and driven by compassion. These are all beautiful qualities and it makes me proud to admit he and I have very similar personalities. I smile to think that Caesar, a fictional character, inspires me to be a great leader; a person driven by compassion and the welfare of others no matter the cost to oneself.
As far as the films cons I can only name two, and they are highly subjective in nature. I balked at the capture of the ape clan mid-movie by the soldiers. How did they pull this off when they were heading in the opposite direction? I thought this part of the story a bit of a downer. I already witnessed all out conflict between the entirety of the ape and human factions in the previous movie. I did not want to see it again. I would have much preferred to see Caesar and his few loyal allies wage gorilla warfare (bad pun I know) on the Colonel’s forces. This would have been more personal, and focused a lot more on Caesar (less on apekind).
My second complaint of this film was the protagonist’s fateful end. The Colonel yielding to the virus was poetic justice and simultaneously disappointing. Caesar was primed for vengeance. He was so close. Caesar could care less about humans killing humans. He just wanted to off the murderer of his family. I know the movie’s outcome saved Caesar’s character but I still wanted a battle between the two. The film MADE me want that.
However, regarding the film’s best scene I have my candidate. My absolute favorite scene in this film is when Nova gives Caesar food and water. She walks into the camp not caring about her own safety but Caesar’s. This act revives Caesar in more ways than one. It not only breathes new hope in Caesar but in the hearts of all his apes. They band together and silently sign ‘Apes Together Strong.’ This moment brought a tear to my eye. That people can be inspired to hope and pledge loyalty to something in the face of absolute despair is truly beautiful, it is magnificent.
I give the “War of the Planet of the Apes” an uncommon 94% approval rating. This film is simply beautiful. It’s sad and hopeful at the same time. It contains the essence of life’s meaning: hope. “War for the Planet of the Apes” made me cheer. It made me angry. It made me cry. It made me ponder my own life; have I lived out my life ruled by rage and fear, like Colonel, or in compassion, mercy and hope like Caesar?
Thank you for reading, my friends.