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War for the Planet of the Apes: Movie Review

Twenty minutes into the film and it felt like this was going to be a spectacle. Every frame, every shot in those twenty minutes felt surreally perfect. Frames worthy of beautiful image captures, the lighting, the shots and of course, the motion captured apes! Ah! Beauty!

There was a two minute cinematic moment at the twenty minute stage which I would remember as one of the finest moments that I have seen on screen. Time freezes for the character, and so it does for the audience as it is shot with immaculate craft.

But somehow, the movie pulled back in its punch from there on. There were subplots that needed answers, characters that needed closure, emotions that ought to be let out, plans that were to be executed and a central plot that was promisingly moving ahead. Yet there were more than a few moments where the movie slowed down to a bore briefly.

With the rave reviews that were doing the rounds for this film, the expectations were high. But in terms of the plot, there might be a touch disappointment. Movie slows down here and there and might not be as entertaining as you would want a film with the word “war” in it. But saying that, the direction, acting (Motion captured apes, especially Andy serkis as Caesar, take a bow!), background score and cinematography were beautiful! Perfect! They were not just good, rather they were so brilliant that they can be taken as case studies while studying films. Each art complimented the other splendidly. If only, the plot was a touch better.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like movies that take their time to unravel, that invest more on dialogues and emotions rather than action. But the plot itself wants to be a lesser film inspite of the talent at its hand- the director, actors, cinematographer and the composer.

Andy Serkis as Caesar

If Andy Serkis doesn’t at least get nominated for an Oscar for this, I don’t know what can. I know every role has its challenge, but the art at display in a motion capture film is at another film. You feel for caesar, you are moved by caesar and you have to realize that it isn’t computer generated animation but an actor acting through motion capture technology. I think, at this point, I believe that Andy Serkis has become the greatest proponent in this tangent art of acting.

A journey that Andy Serkis has started with Rise of Planet of Apes is complete with this one. More emotionally than anything else. From being brought up by humans to distrusting them to continuing to believe in them and in peace, it was a role that wasn’t an easy one by any standards. Kudos to the writers for completing an arc that started with the first film. There were themes explored in each film that were thought provoking and were in a way reflection of the society we live in.

Caesar in the lead

More than anything, these three films would stand on their own for the heart that it carried and the technology at display. These are finest specimens of art at display and years into the future this trilogy would be looked back as a classic (flaws notwithstanding). The jury is out that this is the best of the Planet of Apes trilogy but I am tempted to disagree. I like the first and second better. More because, even though this film is technically better, I felt there was something amiss in this film as a whole-something that punched as a finale may be? Yet, make no doubt about that it is still a good film.

Will there be more Planet of Apes films? There might be. But this is a trilogy set. If anything there might be a sequel taking off from far into the future from where this film left. And it will be interesting to look at its take. But this trilogy would stand apart. It easily, by a distance, is the finest trilogy in the last decade.

War of planet of Apes is a worthy addition to the Apes saga inspite of its flaws in its pacing. I recommend you to watch it, with patience, and you might like it. There is no “war” in this War film and that probably is okay if what you want out of the film is an intense emotional journey.

I’m going with 3.5/5 for this one. Andy Serkis gets this film extra brownie points from me.

Bow to the Motion Capture tech!


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