Emotional, Puzzling, Beautifully horrible.
When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it was super dumb (talking animals–seriously?). But, as my whole family was going to the movies to see Spiderman: Homecoming and Despicable Me 3, War for the Planet of the Apes seemed like my best option. I was surprised to find that I deeply enjoyed the movie.
The graphics are intense and everything feels real because it is high definition. So, I actually found myself gaping at scenes during the movie. It may be a war movie, but the forest, cave, sunny plane, snowy mountain, etc. settings were all gorgeous.
The apes act like humans for the most part, so it is not hard to take them seriously. They also used sign language (I am not sure if it is American sign language or some made-up language, but they used their hands, so imma go with sign language) to communicate. This proved helpful during the war as well as effective when creating an emotional connection with Nova.
Let us talk about Nova! At first (from the trailer), Nova appeared to be a completely unnecessary character. However, she ended up pulling the whole story together through her symbolic representations of innocence and hope–which are both well-needed in a war setting. She also pulled the two–ape and human–worlds together, posing the question of whether or not the colonel’s point of view is right.
I think for most people, they probably sided with the apes. But I could not seem to choose. Of course, I felt for the apes since the movie is done from Cesar’s perspective. However, when we meet the colonel and he tells his story (which puts Cesar to tears, by the way), he has a point. Some might even say he is courageous and selfless. I mean, it must take a lot to kill your only son. Anyway, I thought both sides were valid. We want to be/stay the dominant race, as humans. Anything/Anyone more intelligent than us scares us (ex. technology/robots). So, it makes sense that the colonel and his soldiers feel threatened by the apes’ existence (I do not understand why they cannot just talk it out, but whatever…). On the other hand, the apes are just protecting themselves. Cesar even offers the colonel peace in the beginning of the movie. The colonel refuses, but the apes still offered! I do not agree with killing in general, but both of these sides have points, and I wonder if the movie makers were trying to stump me. If so, it worked. (I think, if anything, though, I sided a little more with the apes just because the whole movie was from Cesar’s perspective.)
Cesar is a strong character. Despite his feelings, he always thinks about his “followers” (more like family) before himself. However, he does not let anyone kick him around. He also inspires his followers–which comes in handy. Next, I enjoyed watching a character with a set goal whom also had a sensitive side. Plus, Cesar was smart (for the most part) and up-front, two qualities I value in a leader.
(Get ready for various random opinions all at once.) This movie does not spare any feelings when it presents audiences with war. I do not see it glamorizing war at all. I loved the twists in it as well as the emotional progression. The traitors of both sides were unexpected, but real. In addition, I appreciated the apes’ hand symbol (“Apes together strong”); it was extremely powerful. Bad Ape was well woven into the movie, as he was humorous but real. He also reminded me of someone I know who acts like that. Lastly, I appreciated Cesar’s death at the very end. It is really annoying to have every movie end the same way, because it takes the thrill out of watching it if you know certain characters are going to live through ’till the end. This movie killed the two most important characters, and as a result, it brought a whole new perspective not only to this story and to war, but to film, too.
The only cliche aspect of this movie was Cesar’s anger. It was too predictable. Of course, it probably is common in war, to be mad at the person who killed your loved ones. However, considering this is just a movie, I would have liked to see Cesar overcome his anger earlier in the film or project it in some other direction/way.
I loved this movie and will definitely be buying it. 4.5/5 stars!