The Planet Of The Apes reboot trilogy is easily one of the top five trilogies in films of all time, the reboot series concludes with this film. Rise led to Dawn and Dawn led to War. War doesn’t actually have much warfare but it’s a bit of an uprising with the actual war taking a backseat.
Are you disappointed? Don’t be. After Dawn’s ballistic finale, War is a more subtle film then what the title actually suggests. The film begins with a firefight and a camo-stripped soldiers raiding the Ape’s stronghold but soon it turns into a massacre and it shifts down a gear with an emphasis on internal conflicts rather then external, Caesar spent Dawn trying to preach tolerance to Koba but here, Caesar is plagued about what happened to his former friend and he spirals into his heart of darkness. Caesar and the gang that includes Rocket , Luca , and gentle Maurice they set upon a journey to kill the Colonel played by Woody Harrelson.
Instead of doubling down on darkness and bleakness, the film opts for a more lighter tone in certain areas including a POW camp and the future isn’t all grimness and genocide, with a few scenes being emotional and tenderness being shown.
The performance in Dawn was incredibly good, dropping Apes into a forest with seamless precision and the performance declared the state of CGI back in 2014. War’s collective of performances is no less impressive with snowy backgrounds and the Apes themselves have never been so expressive, while most still use signs then speaking ( Caesar’s dictations has advanced.) the emotion portrayed by their faces are worth a dozen pages of dialogue alone, it’s impressive.
The performances by the actors are A+ grade here. Andy Serkis brings more depth and fury while meanwhile shaping the evolution that began with the first installment. Harrelson, meanwhile, brings one of his best performances here with the nameless Colonel. The colonel is similar to Kurtz from Apocalypse Now and gazing down at his soldiers like Immorten Joe. He’s lent depth and pathos by an ingenious plot twist.
Also, a new actor appears here in the Apes trilogy in the form of “Bad Ape” who lends comedic and goofyness that the reboot series needed since the beginning. Steve Zahn plays “Bad Ape” with levity that’s also been lacking from the series.
In the end, War is a introspective journey rather then external and it becomes a classic masterpiece and this film rounds out the journey that had been started in RISE. The film is poignant and it stays with you hours and days after the film has ended, it’s a powerful film that rounds out everything that had been started. The conflict here is of morality, identity, and how far the human race can go before we too become animals. War is the strongest Apes film yet.