I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this sequel ever since I saw the "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (2014) which was itself a sequel to "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2011), the entire trilogy being a remake of the whole Charleston Heston - Kim Hunter - Roddy McDowell series of Planet of the Apes movies from the 1960's and -70s. "War for the Planet of he Apes" certainly completes the trilogy of this new series of Apes movies, and it is a good one.
In this one, relations between the apes and the humans appear to have reached a boiling point and an Armageddon-type confrontation is in store. So much so that the apes have considered moving from their shelters in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to a desert area somewhere "over the mountain". However, an attack by a bunch of renegade soldiers led by maniacal and evil Woody Harrelson, prevents Ape leader Caesar from leaving and he needs a personal confrontation with old Woody.
I am not going to say any more, so as not to hint of any spoilers, but I will say the following:
- Andy Serkis once again plays Caesar, and he's quite brilliant in doing so. You really believe that this is an honest-to-God monkey walking and talking up there on screen. It probably won't happen, but if Serkis gets an Oscar nomination for this part, it will be totally deserved.
- The climactic scene, and I am not even going to hint at what it involved, was pretty spectacular.
- Harrelson was the definite "bad guy" in this one, so you aren't supposed to like him, and that was easy, because for whatever reason, I just don't really like Woody Harrelson to begin with.
- The ending was satisfying, yet sad. The movie makers behind this series wrapped up this trilogy in such a way that I just don't see how they can come up with a fourth movie with these same bunch of apes.
- Of course, knowing Hollywood, I am guessing that sometime around 2020-21, somebody will decide to do it all over again with their own particular spin on it. I think the current Hollywood lingo for that is called a reboot of a movie franchise.
This movie has been getting terrific reviews everywhere. Tony Norman of the Post-Gazette gave it four stars and said that it would be a cinch for a Best Picture Academy Award nomination. I'm not sure that I'd go that far, but it really is a great piece of film-making with a good story, great effects, and that aforementioned spectacular ending.
It gets Three Stars from The Grandstander.
And I just can't end a post about the Planet of the Apes, er, franchise without showing this clip from the very first Apes movie. One of the more memorable lines in movie history.