We are told that War for the Planet of the Apes is the final instalment of the rebooted (and certainly the best) telling of the original 1968 version of Pierre Boulle’s 1963 science fiction novel of a world turned upside down. (We must never talk of the Tim Burton Apes movie attempt)

The previous two Ape films RISE and DAWN, both did extremely well with box office takings and this finale WAR is set to break those records.
Croydon Guardian:
Apes together...Strong!

Actor Andy Serkis is back to bring life into the emphatic Caesar, leader of the Apes. All Caesar ever wanted was to live in peace with his tribe and his family. However, in recent times the Apes have been living in fear of an attack from a band of human soldiers led by a megalomaniac known only as the Colonel (Woody Harrelson).
Croydon Guardian:
The Colonel (Woody Harrelson)

The Colonel wants Caesar assassinated, so without a leader he can instigate the Apes genocide, wiping their existence from the planet.

The film’s opening act sequence is a full-on conflict reminiscent of a Vietnam jungle battle between the professional soldiers complete with their GI helmets adorned with anti-monkey slogans against the more primitive but strategic local enemy.
Croydon Guardian:
Caesar out for revenge

The deadly encounters with the soldiers eventually lead to the death of Caesar’s wife and son. This sets up act two as a throwback to the sixties style Western, turning into a revenge saga to bring the Colonel to justice.

We see some great scenes of the foursome, Caesar (Serkis), fellow chimp, Rocket (Terry Notary), Gorilla Luca, (Michael Adamthwaite) and Orangutan, Maurice (Karin Konoval) riding on horseback through what looks like the Rocky Mountains landscape.
Croydon Guardian: The Chase

These scenes could have looked comical in the wrong hands but they are so superbly shot and the CGI has come on in leaps and bounds and they look spectacular. On their travels, they also come upon a young mute girl (Amiah Miller, a Dakota Fanning look-alike) who Maurice takes under his wing much to Caesar’s dislike.
Croydon Guardian:
Maurice and Nova

The third act then throws a curve ball, when we veer off to narrative showing the Ape tribe in a Nazi style forced labor camp run by the Colonel. Can Caesar release his people from this nightmare and exterminate the Colonel?

In my mind this final Ape adventure is by far the most superior. After five minutes into the film you forget about CGI special effects and just accept that these creatures are talking, walking Apes with human traits and personalities. If the 2018 Oscar’s do not set up a motion capture category for the likes of Andy Serkis for acting, then there is no justice in the world.
Croydon Guardian:
Apes attack

Woody Harrelson is excellent as the crazy leader of the troop of soldiers and the director Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, 2104. Let Me In, 2010. Cloverfield, 2008.) makes no apologies for the similarity of the crazy Colonel Kurtz character from Apocalypse Now (1979) famously brought to life by Marlon Brando. The film even has a classic shaving of the bald head sequence in front of his parading troops.

We also discover that the Colonel is not averse to sacrificing his own kind for the greater good to purify the human race.

But this is not all action and doom and gloom. This third installment has brought in some much needed light relief in the form of an old Chimpanzee that the riders come across, who had taught himself to speak at the zoo he was living in before the changes. Bad Ape, as he is called is played by actor Steve Zahn and he has created a wonderfully funny character in Bad Ape that made me laugh out loud a few times.
Croydon Guardian:
Not so Bad Ape (Steve Zahn)

There is also a reveal in this film which kind of prequels the original 1968 version.

I thought this was quite an emotional film. But I still find it strange that, as a species we all route for the Apes? But as Caesar says “Apes…together…Strong!”

A great end to a great trilogy.

Croydon Guardian: