War for the Planet of the Apes Short Review
The new trilogy of Planet of the Apes movies are not exactly happy tales. Beginning with Rise in 2011 showing us how Caesar was created and the beginning of the simian flu which slowly begins to kill off humans. Plus, it is just rough to watch John Lithgow's character lose his faculties if you have ever had a relative go through he same thing. Then to Dawn in 2014 where Matt Reeves took over as director from Rupert Wyatt and began to flesh out the life and mythos of Caesar as the leader of the apes while trying to garner peace with humans and betrayal by Koba, leading to an army descending upon them to wipe them out.
Now with War for the Planet of the Apes we have moved a few years past with Caesar doing his best to keep his apes together and stay hidden from an army of humans that see their species in its last gasps of existence. It is bleak on both fronts with few good moments, but such is the apocalypse. It shouldn't be fun. It shouldn't be cheery. It should be desperate and disgusting. This is one of the great things the new Apes movies have done so well. While I find myself cheering for Caesar and his kind to make a new world for themselves, I find myself thinking what would I do in that situation if I were human? To see my species on the verge of not existing anymore. I can't say I would not be doing the same.
Woody Harrelson's Colonel is the best way to show our desperation. Where Gary Oldman's character in Dawn was missing some key elements, Harrelson brings humanity's hubris and will for survival full circle. Not going into spoiler territory, but when he finds out information about the future of humanity, his "holy war" seems brutal, but somehow...necessary. It makes you think way more than any summer blockbuster should.
There is a particular scene between the Colonel and Caesar that is so well acted and so tenable to the Colonel's actions I found myself thinking "this is how we would survive, I would be with him".
Now onto Andy Serkis. Give this man a fucking Oscar...or at least a nomination for fucks sake. Forgetting the fact that he should have been nominated in 2002 and/or 2003 for The Two Towers and The Return of the King for Best Supporting Actor, he is the absolute emotional center of the entire trilogy, with War being a movie that actors should use as motivation. Caesar is more than a CG character, he is an extension of Serkis. To give a character...not even a human character this type of emotional range and believability is a marvel---I can not overstate this enough. Caesar is one of the most well developed and complete hero characters in movie history. No hyperbole.
The Easter eggs to the original Planet of the Apes are there, but not in a ham-handed way. They feel natural and give this a bit of connection to the classic films.
Finally, I want a Bad Ape solo movie. Make it happen.