War for the Planet of the Apes Review – Flawless, Spectacular, Epic

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War for the Planet of the Apes, from 20th Century Fox, presents the ultimate battle of good versus evil as the world has undergone a radical culling and survivors are left to choose loyalty to mankind, war or ape.

Directed by Mark Reeves, War for the Planet of the Apes stars Andy Serkis, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Ty Olsson, Judy Greer, Sara Canning, Devyn Dalton, Aleks Paunovic, Michael Adamthwaite and Toby Kebbell are the voice and physical talents behind the apes. Woody Harrelson stars as The Colonel and newcomer Amiah Miller stars as Nova. The film was written by Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves based on characters by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.

War for the Planet of the Apes begins with a brief introduction that explains the flue like virus that killed the nearly wiped out all mankind, the decision to kill the source and the division of Man and Ape, this appears on the screen as military forces are on reconnaissance expecting at any time to come across a troop of apes.

The army is man up of human soldiers, and captured apes who are called "Donkeys" as they carry the load for the military and use their expertise to help the military kill their own.

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One this day, the "Donkey's" have spotted a family of apes and after he receives orders the first epic battle begins with military unloading massive fire power against the apes who have grown accustomed to the weapons of war and return fire. Soon the battle turns and the apes destroy the platoon capturing four soldiers.

The apes, led by Caesar, played by Andy Serkis, are reunited hiding, understanding the pressure of finding a new home, away from the jungle and away from the Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson. At this time, Caesar's son, Cornelius, played by Devyn Dalton, returns to tell of a new land, a new home, where the apes could live free without fear.

As any nomad tribe facing the enemy they decide to leave in the morning, with protests from Winter, played by Aleks Paunovic, who insists they should leave now.

The tribe had just drifted off with Ceasar checking on wife, son, family when he sees night vision green strobe laser lights suddenly a wild gun battle ensues with Caesar's wife and son, Cornelius, being killed. The Colonel believes he had killed the leader and issues the "retreat target acquired" order and the men leave believing Ceasar is dead.

The apes are devastated over the loss and this ushers in the hunt as Ceasar puts his young son in the hands of Lake, played by Sara Canning, who loved his older son and separates from the others vowing to end this war.

Three elders in the tribe, Maurice, played by Karin Konoval, the voice of reason, Luca, played by Michael Adamthwaite, the muscle, and Rocket, played by Terry Notary, the protector, explain to Ceasar that his quest cannot be accomplished on his own and they are loyal and will remain with him despite his protests.

As the apes slowly trek the army they come across a child, Nova, played by Amiah Miller, whom over the protests of Ceasar, they bring her along with them. They also find an ape, Bad Ape, played by Steve Zahn, alone in the wintry wilderness, and decide to take him along also.

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War for the Planet of the Apes, the final film in the trilogy, is spectacular and engrossing.

Highly entertaining, War for the Planet of the Apes, genuinely has all the makings of a summer blockbuster.

For those familiar with the franchise, the "Apes" are brought to life through actors wearing CGI suits, so the actors behind the ape masks are essentially created into Ape form after the computers pick up the expressions from the tiny CGI dots that are place on the suits and faces of the actors.

Having the opportunity to visit the Vancouver set of 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes the first film in the series, a few of the takeaways behind the actions on screen are how the actors had to improvised to create the ape style walk by wearing spring crutches. And creating scenes where they swing from tree to tree is completed on playground style gym bars. A quartered screen allows the director to see the action, the green screen, the background of jungle and a wet version of the actor in character.

War of the Planet of the Apes has a plausible story line that brings the apes under the control of the Colonel. Woody Harrelson gives an excellent performance as the hard line, duty first solider. This war has shaken him and it is evident when one enters his quarters. The music, it is the appearance of an Apocalypse Now style of military lunacy, devoted to death even if it is your own. Harrelson gives the performance of his career with his portrayal. He brings a depth, as the cold, cruel, war calloused Colonel.

This film has the world seeing a different Ceasar, the years of loss and war, has invaded his soul as they have been hunted, Andy Serkis portrays the intensity, dogged determination, and loneliness of the war years. His fight to avenge is clear.

The team at WETA Digital, the New Zealand based Visual Effects company with a total of sixteen Academy Awards, six for Best Visuals Effects and ten Academy Science & Technology Awards, is known for creating realistic and authentic, eye popping, unbelievable visual effects. And they did the same in War for The Planet of The Apes.

War for the Planet of the Apes captures your attention at the first epic battle, with convincing, credible and lifelike imagery. The film draws sympathetic lines quickly and it is clear, the Apes are highly evolved, nearly human, smarter than their captors and with a genuine love of family.

War for the Planet of the Apes is engaging from the start, extremely engrossing, with heightened suspense, and includes scenes of war, death, and loss. Expect to connect with the characters.

War for the Planet of the Apes opens July 14, 2017 and this week throughout most of Europe. Check your local listings. It is a must-see film.


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