The First Post-Harambe ‘Apes’ film is here to mine your Simian sympathies.
Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer
Crew: Matt Reeves (Director, Co-Writer) Mark Bomback (Screenwriter) Music by: Michael Giacchino (AGAIN!) Cinematography: Michael Seresin
Question: Why do Simians ride horseback when they’d be faster on their own?
Plot: Ravaged by the Simian Flu humanity makes a last stand against Apes that will rule us all and our only hope is skinhead Larry Flint in Zombieland mode minus a sense of humour.
Expectations: Can we take a moment to appreciate how weird it is that a talking Ape movie became a $150 million dollar franchise? An idea only crazy enough to come out of late 60’s paranoia and early 70’s exploitative fears of the political climate. Such a premise untested today would not be taken seriously or this highly budgeted. Amazingly despite a Tim Burton hiccup in 2001, the series has managed to keep its social commentary intact to become a rare, or rather the only four star big budgeted adult appealing action franchise. Interestingly, I did not know that War for the Planet of the Apes was supposed to be a trilogy closer. In the tradition of its predecessors I expected this one to go all the way to oblivion!
Previous Movies: With the timeline of jumping forward ten years after the first rebooted film; Rise of the Planet of the Apes with the follow-up confusing titled Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I was disappointed after the latter episode seemingly skipped over what could arguably be the most interesting part of the mythology passed the tipping point of the human infecting virus. Dawn, uses lazy character tropes to forcibly generate tension. Hopefully with more realistically minded characters, this coming chapter: War for the Planet of the Apes will persuade me to root for the end of humanity. Although endless trailers hint at a complexity between human and Ape relationships, the likes of which we’ve never seen.
The first film in the rebooted series: Rise of the Planet of the Apes offered a great film on lowered expectations. It was the last film I received on DVD and I looked forward to the sequel with great hype. After reviews called Dawn the best sequel since The Empire Strikes Back I left the theatre disappointed. With dulled expectations the first trailer and even greater reviews for War have me thinking about my favourite trilogy in Revenge of the Sith which I saw when I was eleven. That film on lowered expectations was the best the prequels could be, ending on the biggest and best film in series bar none. Since then I haven’t understood why filmmakers so often get the third film in a trilogy wrong when all the series has to do is knock down its premise, executing it to its natural end. Maybe with this film as has been hinted at, the filmmakers will finally understand.
Tidbit: This is only director Matt Reeves’ fourth film after Cloverfield, Let Me In, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Considering the trend of Hollywood getting freshmen indie directors to make nine-figure films that began with The Amazing Spider-Man, and continued with Guardians of the Galaxy, Godzilla, Jurassic World, up until even Jon Watts’ sophomore feature Spider-Man: Homecoming last week, one can’t help but suppose being a blockbuster Hollywood film director is much easier than it looks.