Watching the progression of the series from the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes to the War for the Planet of the Apes, I can follow the story of Caesar and where his journey has taken him. The technology and special effects are beyond amazing, not to mention the storyline. As a child, I grew up watching the original series with Charlton Heston and Roddy Mcdowall. The concept of primates walking and talking like us is not as original during that time, but to have them act and behave like humans is pretty much groundbreaking. Technology has drastically improve during that time with computers and special effects that go into a movie. Even Tim Burton’s version of the film, Planet of the Apes starring Mark Wahlberg, is impressive as well. His vision of the apes take on a whole new world where we are transported to an arboreal planet filled with all different kinds of Simians that act and behave like primates, but deal with everyday political and social issues that we handle on a daily basis. The prosthetics are not digitalize but are very real and frighteningly authentic at the same time. This triggered the Planet of the Apes feeding frenzy where it snowballed down to where we are today.
Andy Serkis, who plays Caesar, has become a household name when to comes computer animation magic. His performance in the Lord of the Rings as the original ringbearer, Golum (a.k.a. Smeagel) solidifies his name in lights as the right person to play this primate. His performance as Caesar in Rise is realistically scary. He reprises his role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in which he knocks it out of the park. Each film progresses in storytelling as the world falls to where survival of the fittest is dominated by the Simians. Unfortunately the human population are desperate enough to wage war against a species that they don’t fully understand. In Dawn, Caesar must juggle the hatred and the divided views in both the human and his Simian brothers in order to avoid an all out war between the humans and apes. In War, Caesar struggles to lead his people against the humans that are determined to eradicate them. The blame is directed towards the apes as the Simian flu strike the human population. The struggle is more intimate and extremely personal for Caesar. The film focuses on him trying to battle his inner demons with the death of his brother ape, Koba, and his responsibility of being the leader of his people. Woody Harrelson who plays the human antagonist, the Colonel, delivers a great performance. His role takes on two different views of how the human population sees the apes for what they are. He sees Caesar as a threat to his people, and has no compassion for him nor his people. His reason for his hatred for him is explained with great emphasis that he is to blame for all his misery.
The special effects and talent is amazing. Every strand of hair, every facial expression on the ape’s face is met with extreme precision. The message is not as grandiose as the previous film, but it delivers one hell of a punch just the same. Leaving the theater, you can feel the irony in the message of the film. The brutal savagery and fear of the humans are addressed in this film as they try to oppress the apes from becoming what they intend to be, the dominate species.
I give this film three and a half movie stubs out of five. I recommend this film.