Movie #103 2021: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Wahoo! I finally got round to the final Apes movie. Alas, it was not free to stream. You may not have noticed, but I try to review films here that are accessible via a streaming service for no additional cost so that as many readers as possible can check them out. However, it’s not always that easy, so in order to complete this trilogy I had to purchase it on DVD. Old school.

Luckily, had War for the Planet of the Apes in their 4 DVDs for £8 offer, which is an absolute steal, so I bought it there rather than paying £3.99 for it on Amazon. (In case you’re interested, the other three movies I selected were All That Jazz, Badlands, and Manhattan.) If money is too tight for even the little things though, I’m sure that this movie will make it to Disney+ eventually!

Anyway, on with the actual film. War for the Planet of the Apes is exactly what it says on the tin: a culmination of everything that happened across the first two movies coming together and ending in an all-out war between humans and apes. Enter ‘The Colonel’, played by a particularly sinister Woody Harrelson. With a child who is living with the deadly virus that has plagued the human race in tow, Caesar (the brilliant Andy Serkis) goes head-to-head with his ultimate foe, and everything about the cohabited world comes into question.

After watching, I saw one critic say “I was on Woody Harrelson’s side!”……….. Who hurt you? U K Hun? Who in the fuck would choose an actual dictator over some harmless apes who simply want respect and peace? Tories, that’s who.

My personal distaste for anyone who’s not siding with the apes aside, War For is certainly a visual spectacle, perhaps even more so than the first two films. Though the motion capture and CGI seems to get off to a rough start, it improves after the first twenty minutes so little harm is done. Besides that, the scenery and the sets are insanely good in this one. The filmmakers definitely show off their big Hollywood budget this time round, and it completely pays off.

Both the new characters and the returning ones all did their parts to make this film even more successful. Despite Harrelson’s almost Hitlerite character being utterly hissable, he performs the hell out of this role. Bad Ape (Steve Zahn, whose face you’ll know if you Google him!) was a fantastic addition, bringing a little levity to what could have been deeply depressing. And Andy Serkis? I don’t even need to say anything. Brilliant. 

It has to be said that the story itself is quite a slow burn, but at the same time, it’s so carefully plotted from beginning to end. As usual, the writers force you to empathise with the apes before all hell breaks loose in an almighty finale. (Again, if you’re not siding with them, you’re probably not fucking paying attention.)

No, it’s not as action-packed as Dawn of, but that’s fine in my opinion. This final instalment is more contemplative, calm, and wraps everything up neatly to form a complete story.

I had such a great time watching these and I’m not sorry!

War for the Planet of the Apes – as already explained – is cheapest to rent on Rakuten for £2.45, or you can buy it digitally for £3.99 on Amazon. Or, just do what I did and head over to MusicMagpie if you’re in the UK!

TQR Category Ratings:

Costume & Set Design: 
Overall Rating: ½

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