War for the planet of the apes, the third movie in the franchise is an emotionally moving experience due to the character arch we get to see. Caesar is vulnerable, he is haunted by his own faults and yet he is trying his best to save the herd. With director Matt Reeves addressing the movie as more of a humane story of survival and determination, War for the planet of the apes bids adieu to Caesar in a classy way.
Post what we saw in Dawn, Caesar along with the apes have moved to the woods. The humans fear that he has a base camp there and so they have decided to hunt him down. Even after Caesar declaring that he has no plan to intrude in the human life, the Colonel decides to attack the apes and the personal loss Caesar faced in that attack paves way to the entire content of War for the planet of the apes.
At a time main stream Hollywood is obsessed with chaotic money spinner sci-fi films this whole franchise was an example on how to include layered emotional stories in to such concepts. A franchise that could have been three parts long mere fight between humans and apes has got elements that is beyond the physical fight. At one point in this film, Caesar meets the general and gets to know the reason why he along with his men is doing these atrocities. The shades of fight for existence and the thirst for revenge obviously affect Caesar badly and we could see it in his eyes that there wasn’t a big difference between him and the colonel. The kid who couldn’t speak shows us the compassion the apes have for the weak and even after being the fearless leader, Caesar is haunted by Koba as he fears about Koba’s accusations being true. In a way along with the physical war between the apes and humans, we are also getting to see this struggle inside Caesar’s mind.
Matt Reeves likes to go in to the emotional state of his characters very deeply. We can see that more clearly this time. Rather than making it a CGI extravaganza, he is trying to show us the way the apes react to certain situations. Reeves gives the film that relatively dark and silent treatment in the beginning. It doesn’t drag the movie, but instead gives us an idea about the present situation. The political correctness was maintained at the end, justifying the similarity between the war of colonel and Caesar. The screenplay within its 140 minutes of runtime skillfully chooses where to invest more and that gives those last phases of the movie an emotional intensity. Visuals convey that dark war climate very impressively. The background score was very minimal in the beginning and it went on to become more intriguing. And towards the climax it shifted the tone to that elating level.
The spectacular Andy Serkis once again shows a brilliant display of acting. Caesar this time was more mature, perplexed and a bigger leader and Serkis has succeeded in bringing in all that in to the body language and words of Caesar. Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary and many more actors are there who became the motion capture references for all the apes we have seen on screen. Woody Harrelson was also pretty impressive as the revenge seeking colonel.
War for the Planet of the Apes is a movie that has heft in its emotions and the movie is driven by the strength of those feelings. It shows us Caesar’s physical and mental struggle to protect his people, the ones who believed in him so that they can survive and Matt Reeves depicts that idea in a brilliant way. I hope the Academy would appreciate motion capture performances at least this year.
War for the Planet of the Apes is a movie that has heft in its emotions and the movie is driven by the strength of those feelings.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended