WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES || Emotions are running high in the final trailer for War For The Planet Of The Apes and Woody Harrelson, who plays the Colonel, even calls it out (“so emotional!”). Caesar and his band of apes come across a new threat, this time in the form of armed soldiers hellbent on wiping the ape population away. Where the original 1963 Planet Of The Apes was set in the distant future, the progression of this current franchise is really showing off the mentality and struggle happening in Caesar as he is almost forced into bringing an end to the human population, despite mainly wanting to live in peace. In Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Caesar was introduced, as was the scientific advancements that led to the apes gaining cognitive skills. This lead to the Simian Flu that ended up killing a large portion of the population and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes picks up where the apes, who have retreated to the woods for sanctuary, face off with their first human contact following the outbreak, leading to a small, but important fight. Thus, this leads to the events of War For The Planet Of The Apes, which takes the scale of the battle even higher.
Directed Matt Reeves, who directed Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, returns to the director’s chair for this outing. Harrelson leads the human crew, which does not appear to have any other recognizable names. Amiah Miller plays a young orphan girl who is taken in by the apes and who will likely end up having a bigger part if the franchise is to continue post-War. Andy Serkis continues to lead the pack as mo-cap Caesar, to which I still believe he deserves an honorary Oscar for. Steve Zahn joins the cast as “Bad Ape,” who appears to be the sole survivor of a zoo who happened to be in the war path of the Colonel. And Judy Greer returns as Caesar’s wife, Cornelia.
With Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes being one of my favorite films of 2014, it’s hard to face the fact that my expectations for this new film are set quite high. But without star power like Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, or even Kodi Smit-McPhee, I have little faith in this film actually surpassing that one. Harrelson is a star in his own right, but his performance here comes off more goofy than intimidating and with Serkis pulling off always impressive feats as Caesar, you need a villain (like Oldman) who matches the intensity and fortitude of that leader ape. This does have the visuals of a war film, but with Kong: Skull Island already borrowing from old war films, it is hard to say this feels unique. That being said, the winter aspect does help set it apart from the jungle island of the aforementioned King Kong film. And with plenty of pre-existing backstory for these apes, I’m very curious what they can pull off as far as emotions go.
Release Date: July 14, 2017
Directed By: Matt Reeves
Studio: 20th Century Fox