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War for the Planet of the Apes | Average Guy Movie Review


Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his clan are in the fight for their lives when a Colonel - in what's left of the US Military - takes it upon himself to wipe out all of the apes. Still struggling with the events that started the war and what happened to Koba, Caesar is just trying to protect his own. But after a devastating surprise attack by the Colonel (Woody Harrelson), Caesar and his closest friends find themselves on a mission of vengeance. Along the way they will meet new friends 'Bad Ape' (Steve Zahn) and a mute human girl (Amiah Miller).


Director Matt Reeves second instalment in the reboot trilogy sees Andy Serkis back in the motion capture suit delivering yet another breath taking performance. It is incredible to see how far Weta Digital have come with the motion capture technology. Through Rise, Dawn and now War we've seen incredible leaps in the imagery and the look of the apes. Watching the apes travel from the forest up into the mountains through the snow is nothing short of incredible. And the actors' performances translate beautifully! Caesar is a very conflicted soul throughout, torn between his need for vengeance and his responsibility as leader. You can really see this in Serkis' performance, which is nothing short of Oscar worthy. His eyes, his face, his body language, you can see how he's carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.


Serkis isn't the only one on top form, all of the returning actors are at the top of their game and newcomers Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller and Woody Harrelson bring something new to the table. Zahn's 'Bad Ape' has been alone for a long time, his timid nature and erratic behaviour brings some light humour to the proceedings. Miller's character is wonderful to watch, without saying a word she is able to connect with not only the apes but the audience as well. After the tragic opening, she teaches Caesar to feel more than just hate and vengeance. And the subject of that hate is Harrelson's 'Colonel', he's a soldier, he has a mission and he will carry it out no matter what. Despite wearing sunglasses at night - a cheap attempt at looking hard - Harrelson portrays this fierce dedication very well. He's almost like Colonel Kurtz of Apocalypse Now, he has carved out a little niche for himself in this war that has driven him mad.


Despite a deeply compelling story and some incredible characters, War fails to live up to its title in the final act. That's not to say it isn't good because it is, it's just not the war we were promised. The final battle, although action packed is short lived and isn't even a fight for the planet. I think the problem is with the fate of the Colonel, it's definitely poetic but it's not what you'd expect of a story like this. Because of this I felt robbed of what could have been an epic battle between man and ape, maybe not for the planet but certainly survival.


War for the Planet of the Apes is a brilliant conclusion to the reboot trilogy. It ends in such a way that closes out the trilogy and at the same time leaves things open. Yes the final battle is a little disappointing but the story as a whole is very compelling. Watching these two species fight is even more interesting when you realise it's the humans that are the animals.
8/10


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