WAR OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2017) Reviews and overview

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War for the Planet of the Apes is a 2017 American science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the ApesLet Me In; Cloverfield) from a screenplay co-written with Mark Bomback (Total RecallThe Night Caller).

The film stars Andy Serkis (Burke and HareKing Kong; The Cottage), Woody Harrelson (Zombieland), Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, Karin Konoval, and Terry Notary (Kong: Skull Island).


Following the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar and his ape colony are embroiled in a battle with an army of humans. When the apes suffer heavy losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts as he resolves to avenge his kind.

The ensuing battle puts Caesar against the humans’ leader, a ruthless Colonel, in an encounter that will determine the fate of their species and Earth’s future…


“It’s pure eye candy and a great summer blockbuster for teens and hardcore fans of the Planet of the Apes franchise. It’s an absolute triumph for motion capture technologies. But it’s not as dark as the last two Apes films, and it never really produces legitimate dread or suspense. War for the Planet of the Apes is a powerful drama sorely lacking in thrills.” Horrorfreak News

” …let’s not forget this important factor for summer movie dollars, it’s wildly entertaining. It has comedic beats—many of them courtesy of Bad Ape, voiced memorably by Steve Zahn—to match its philosophical ones. It has action sequences, especially in the final act, to rival anything this year.” RogerEbert.com

“This is the first major 2017 contender for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor at the next Academy Awards — not a dark horse candidate, but a straight-up significant contender. It is a testament to how powerful, visionary, and brilliantly realized genre filmmaking can be. With War, the Planet of the Apes series becomes one of the greatest science fiction series in cinema history, and among the finest trilogies of any genre ever put to film.” Forbes

A rich, complicated entry in a franchise that has always been willing to strain for significance, this takes full advantage of CGI character-creating technology, which is evolving more rapidly than its sapient apes. Watching all three of the recent Apes films in succession, the progress of motion-capture performance in a relatively short time is as astonishing as the leap in sound recording between The Jazz Singer (1927) and King Kong (1933).” Sight & Sound

“And what an intricate work of art it is. Crafted by hundreds of immensely talented people, sculpted around a flawless central performance by Andy Serkis, a maverick and a maven. If this doesn’t get him an Academy Award nomination, then we must rally the troops, and like a bunch of apes, protest till they start firing arrows at our sides, yelling ‘Apes, together, strong,’ till we die.” Hindustan Times

“Buoyed by Michael Giacchino’s terrific music and rife with audacious references to Apocalypse Now, this film plays like a true pop opera, a Spielberg production of The Ring of the Nibelungs. Reeves, who did Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Let Me In, is not a less-is-more kind of filmmaker—he flings visual ideas like monkeys throw feces, one after the other and in all directions.” Seattle Weekly

“Andy Serkis is once again outstanding as Caesar as he wrestles with the morality of inter-species warfare, and his supporting cast almost all provide memorable and striking performances as well. They’re assisted by seamless effects, which seldom have the luxury of not having to try to carry a whole blockbuster on their own. Director Matt Reeves and co-writer Mark Bomback display a fantastic ability for both spectacle and restraint in delivering one of the best summer blockbusters in years.” IGN

“Even when it threatens to turn into Apocalypse Now in a wobbly stretch near the end, War for the Planet of the Apes never ceases to be a movie, never turns into a product. That’s to say that the filmmakers have conceived it as a dramatic and emotional experience and not just the scheme of a studio marketing department, the craven and transparent impulse that hobbles so many big summer movies. In fact, they have made a consistently intelligent, morally thoughtful and often beautiful picture.” Newsweek

“Reeves keeps the action moving steadily, never letting the film’s 140 minutes feel even slightly bloated, and surrounds Caesar with a visually stunning, compassionately conceived group of side characters, from series staples Maurice and Rocket (Terry Notary) to new ally Bad Ape (Steve Zahn, going leaps beyond his recent live-action work) and the speechless little girl Nova (Amiah Miller) who they pick up along the way.” The Globe and Mail

“The veteran cinematographer Michael Seresin (Angel HeartHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azbakan) deserves an Academy Award nomination for giving the film such a vibrant and stunning overall look. Serkis is brilliant and memorable and sometimes absolutely heartbreaking as Caesar. The supporting players excel, with each getting a moment or two in the sun.” Chicago Sun Times

“I thought 2017 peaked with Logan, the last film I gave a perfect review on Bloody Disgusting. I’m both surprised and happy that I was proven wrong only three months later. War for the Planet of the Apes is not only the best film in the prequel trilogy that debuted the better half of a decade ago, it’s a masterpiece and one of the best films I’ve ever seen.” Bloody Disgusting

Cast and characters:


Andy Serkis as Caesar
Steve Zahn as Bad Ape
Judy Greer as Cornelia
Karin Konoval as Maurice
Terry Notary as Rocket
Max Lloyd-Jones as Blue Eyes
Aleks Paunovic
Sara Canning


Woody Harrelson as the Colonel, a ruthless senior military colonel and the leader of the human armies.
Gabriel Chavarria as Preacher, a soldier who is allied with the apes.
Chad Rook as Boyle
Amiah Miller

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