War for the Planet of the Apes is both a technological marvel and a dramatic time bomb that would make many shed tears. It’s the kind of film that re-affirms my faith in Hollywood and makes me salute not only the technical genius of the men and women involved but the sheer power of imagination that these men and women possess to be able to envision an intricate tale of patriarchy, sacrifice, freedom and above all righteousness through the life of apes.
The story picks up from where the last part left off. Caesar has gone into hiding with the remaining apes after Koba started a war with the humans. The humans have gained some new grounds and are now on the brink of landing a major assault on the apes and take back the planet. But first, they must take out their leader Caesar. The Colonel, the leader of the human armed forces, leads a mission to kill Caesar but what he ends up doing triggers a chain of events that takes Caesar through a tumultuous journey of self-discovery, leadership, freedom and war.
War for the Planet of the Apes is a drama of the highest order. The action takes a back seat from the very beginning and what you get is an apocalypse now-esc portrayal of very human emotions and problems by an ape. Caesar is for real. You associate with his problems and his grief as they are for real. We experience similar things in the human world more often than not. But to see an ape go through similar predicaments and pain is a revolutionary experience.
A very large chunk of the praise for the effect that the film creates will have to be bestowed on the artists playing the characters and the revolutionary CGI. They say that the best CGI are the ones that you do not even notice. If that is the case then War for the Planet of the Apes should get an Oscar hands down. The expressions of the apes and the way their eyes are designed conveyed so much meaning that I was almost finding it hard to believe that all of it was CGI. The character design, the realism associated with the fur and the very realistic action sequences will leave you astounded.
One of my few complaints from the previous films of this franchise has been the fact that the human characters have been somewhat weak or for that matter lame. They have not added much to the story even though they have been an integral part of the story. Here the human characters finally make their presence felt. Woody Harrelson is menacing as the colonel. He has been doing some very things to both men and the apes and he has a solid reason behind what he is doing. Thus his presence is rather marauding. He is also someone you will is an able adversary for the incredible Caesar.
Caesar has been body-acted by Andy Serkis who is one of the premier actors doing motion capture work these days. I have a feeling that one needs to have a specific inclination for this kind of roles and Serkis, more often than not, does exceptionally well in these outings. As Caesar, he has far exceeded his most profound and affecting performances as Gollum in the Lord of The Rings Trilogy. His is a complex and intriguing character that has gone through an extended arc from the first film through the second and now into this final chapter. He is getting old. You can see that. He is also getting impatient. But inside he is still the first of his kind who liberated them all. What makes him special is his humanity and humility and both these traits are wonderfully enacted by Serkis.
This is a grim and intense film that is almost completely devoid of any happiness or fun. Whatever little comedy is there is due to a character called bad ape (Steve Zahn). Bad ape is uproariously funny in a setting that is grim and yet for some strange reasons he never for once feels out of order. I loved his act and the fresh humor that he brings to the table. This was a character that could have easily gone overboard but does not. His interactions with the rest of the apes are one of the high points of the film.
The thing about the final installment of trilogies is often it wrecks the whole trilogy by being bad. But in this case, the whole trilogy is emotionally uplifted by this sensational film that I think is flawless. War for the Planet of the Apes seamlessly attaches itself to the rest of the two films and completes the story arc in a befitting manner. This is also a very emotional film which is scored brilliantly. A large portion of the film is devoid of any dialogs and has only the background score. It had to be spot on and it is.
We have seen many good action films this year so far, but none like War for the Planet of the Apes. It is one of those rare films that you can watch and re-watch and cherish every time anew. It is one of those films that reminds us why we watch films in the first place. It is one of those films that shows how humane technology can be. Don’t miss this masterpiece.
Rating : 5/5 (5 out of 5 Stars)