Monday, 24 July 2017

OJ's Movie Review - War For the Planet of the Apes

Apes together, strong.

Well, here we are, a conclusion of sorts. I absolutely loved Rise of the Planet of the Apes; it's a film unlike anything I had seen before.  Dawn was one of the most intense, edge-of-your-seat experiences I'd ever had in a cinema, and now is the third part of Ceaser's personal trilogy. How did it go?

  I'll start off by just saying how much the apes look like actual real animals. Seriously, the CGI improves with every film. There are moments where if you told me that was an advanced animatronic head on screen, I would believe you. There's one particular shot of Maurice the orangutan where I swear it was like watching a close-up in an Attenborough documentary, they are that real. So that in itself blows me away. Of course, along with the expert VFX team, you have Andy Serkis and others doing their performance-capture work as the apes; the emotion and acting they manage to portray is incredible and a thrill to watch.

   Moving onto the story now, I have to say, the plot is what lets it down for me. For a film that contains the phrase "War for the Planet", the story is a very contained and inconsequential narrative that has no real bearing on the world as a whole. Sure, it has major points in Ceaser's life and the life of his tribe and what they have to face, and as a story there, it was a suspenseful, brutal, incredibly well-scored and acted film. But in terms of what I feel I had been led to expect, it dropped the ball for me. If I accept what the film is about though, and look directly at the what the plot was, even then, although it's not a bad film, it's completely unoriginal. What transpires from the second act onwards is everything we've seen before in films where a group of characters must escape somewhere; it hits all the beats of that genre and the only change it offers is the fact that it's with apes; which, to be fair, is a fascinating visual and I will never grow tired of seeing how the apes are depicted in this franchise but because Rise and Dawn were so different from anything I'd seen before I was not expecting this film to be so familiar.

  I mean there are more aspects about this film I liked a lot, including Steve Zahn's character, some of the little easter-eggs and callbacks to the 1968 film and Michael Giacchino's score, which were all great, and I'm not saying this is a bad film, it's just very unoriginal and falls into some cliches every now and again.

   In the end, War For the Planet of the Apes is an incredible step-up in film-making itself with the directing, acting and what VFX is capable of but for me personally the story was a let-down and I very much hope there is a next entry after this as I feel there is more to tell.


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