Wrapping up the new trilogy, War dovetails nicely into the old Apes movies, I’m giving it an A.
After the battle between the two groups of apes (Koba and Caesar) has decimated the number of apes left alive. Caesar would like nothing but to live in peace. However, he has become the poster boy for all the problems the humans’ faced. The Simian Flu has wiped out much of the human population. Now the virus is mutating and changing humanity forever. But a military Colonel (played by Woody Harrelson) has been training some of the humans left for war against the apes.
Featuring many of the same actors and apes from the previous two movies the CGI giving the apes human expressions is outstanding. As we gaze into Caesar’s eyes, we see fear, anger and overwhelming sadness. Koba’s allies are now siding with the Colonel and serving as ‘donkeys’ (named after Donkey Kong but also because they serve as pack animals). These traitors to Caesar’s side will stop at nothing to get back at the one ape who defeated them. We get to meet a unique ape- Bad Ape, who is an escapee from a zoo and has been hiding out on his own so long, he’s not quite all right in the head.
There are many heavy messages in this installment. The horror of war is only one piece but we are also given an uplifting message of love and compassion, family and strength. A small girl is found by the apes. She’s not able to speak but quickly becomes fluent in sign language and embodies hope in this movie. Most interesting is the message of what can happen when you hold hate in your heart. Revenge moved Koba, it moves the Colonel and at times takes over Caesar. This hate only leads to heartache rather than the search for hope.
For fans of the original 1960’s movies, there are many nods in this movie, from the introduction of Caesar’s young son, Cornelius to the orangutan’s name-Maurice (the original movie was played by an actor named Maurice), and while the director states that the Nova from this movie can’t be the Nova in the original, it does bring everything full circle.
Overall, this movie is emotionally moving, meant to leave you thinking but with a great deal of violence and death, it’s not suitable for the younger audience. And plans have already begun for the next installment…I’m excited to see how close it will take us to the original.
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