War for the Planet of the Apes – Film Review

Rating : 4 / 5 stars

What’s it about?
War for The Planet of the Apes is the third film in the rebooted Apes trilogy directed by Matt Reeves and starrs Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn and Karin Konoval among others.
The film is set two years after the events of  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes where most of humankind is wiped out and the military is locked in a war with the apes. After his group of apes are attacked in a surgical strike by the military, Caesar embarks on a journey of revenge, struggling to keep out the darkness that is seeping into his psyche and affecting his decision making.
Dealing with worse odds that ever before, will Caesar be able to get his revenge? will he be able to overcome betrayal from within? will he finally lead apes to victory and safety? and will he finally find inner peace? These are some of the questions that the film tackles.

What’s Good?
The best part is that there is so much to discover in the film as the trailers do not give away any inkling of the story. With many twists and turns, this film succeeds in engrossing the viewer for its entire runtime. Very rarely do we get a film whose central character has as full a character arc as Caesar does in this film. It is about his journey to redemption and he is front and center in the film. Also, look out for easter eggs tying this film to the original Planet of the Apes film in case you are familiar with the original. All in all, the film has a well rounded story and is a satisfying end to the rebooted Apes trilogy.

Technically speaking, this film is a visual masterpiece. The frames are breathtaking and this is probably the best cinematography in a film this year so far. The VFX, as expected is near flawless. The apes look so real and lifelike in certain scenes that it is easy to forgets that its all digital trickery that one is watching. What is also amazing is the leaps and bounds motion capture technology has made over the years. Seamlessly merging the performance of the artist with technology, this is a marvel to behold. Whatever action is present in the film is well choreographed and done well.

What’s Not?
The only minor problem with the film was the pacing, especially in the middle portions. While the film manages to create great character moments here, it feels slightly drawn out and sluggish than expected. Also, one must manage his/her expectations regardng the amount of action in the film. This is more of a character drama than an action film and hence has lesser than expected action.

There are very few real people in the film as most of the main characters use motion capture technology to give performances as apes. This however does not diminish the impact of their performance. Andy Serkis is absolutely riveting as Caesar, a leader who is conflicted between doing what he wants and doing what is right. His is surprisingly the most humane character and  it is hard not to root for him because of Serkis’s performance. Steve Zahn as bad ape delivers a few good laughs when the proceedings get a little too intense. Karin Konoval as Maurice is the calming presence in Caesars group and gives a good performance. Woody Harrelson as the Colonel is menacing at times but the character feels underwritten and one note most of the times. Still he makes for a good villain to Caesar’s hero. Rest of the cast is good in their respective roles.

Final Word
A worthy addition to one of the best trilogies in modern blockbuster cinema, this is definitely a must watch for cinema lovers.

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