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War for the Planet of the Apes the best one yet in an ever-improving saga

Wednesday - 26/07/2017 13:08
REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes brilliantly brings it and swings it for king of the jungle, the one and only Andy Serkis.
Scene from War For the Planet of the Apes. 20th Century Fox Films. Picture: Supplied
Scene from War For the Planet of the Apes. 20th Century Fox Films. Picture: Supplied

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (M)

Rating: Four stars (4 out of 5)

Director: Matt Reeves (Cloverfield)

Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval.

There can be no revolution without evolution

It is very rare for a movie trilogy to continue trending upwards in quality witheach successive instalment.

Not only has the modern incarnation of the Planet of the Apes saga gone right on bettering itself at every opportunity.

It also roams an exalted plane of entertainment few blockbusters ever reach: crafting fare of a fine calibre that satisfies thrill seekers and deep thinkers alike.

At the junction of all intersecting plot lines in the superb War for the Planet of the Apes stands the mighty Simian leader Caesar (yet another stunning portrayal by the master of motion-capture performance, Andy Serkis).

Hi there. The name’s Caesar. I like taking long rides on horseback, practising my English, and teaching humans a lesson. Oh, and I haven’t worn a shirt ever. Picture: Supplied
Hi there. The name’s Caesar. I like taking long rides on horseback, practising my English, and teaching humans a lesson. Oh, and I haven’t worn a shirt ever. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

This noble figure’s apey, breaky heart has grown heavier in the 15 years since his species first established their superiority over the human enemy.

More than any other of his kind, Caesar has traditionally sought to balance the right to live in peace with the obligation to fight to preserve that right.

However, after his wife and eldest son have perished at the hands of a deranged human army commander known as The Colonel (Woody Harrelson, channelling Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now), Caesar can no longer call upon his cool, calm wisdom to point the way forward.

Woody Harrelson’s make-up kit for War for the Planet of the Apes was one tin of boot polish, and one black Sharpie. Picture: Supplied
Woody Harrelson’s make-up kit for War for the Planet of the Apes was one tin of boot polish, and one black Sharpie. Picture: SuppliedSource:SuppliedCaption

Now Caesar feels nothing else but the heat of absolute retribution. As he takes off on horseback to square the ledger with The Colonel — who runs a rogue prison camp operation on a faraway frontier — a small band of loyal followers eventually decide to follow him into the great unknown.

This group includes the ever-insightful orangutan warrior Maurice (Karin Konoval, a franchise regular who has learnt much from Serkis on the mo-cap front), a long-term fugitive from a zoo who thinks his name is ‘Bad Ape’ (a scene-stealing Steve Zahn), and a mute little human girl (Amiah Miller) who fits in with this ragtag crew just nicely.

In this duel of meaningful stares, the orangutan beats the little kid. But not by very far. Picture: Supplied
In this duel of meaningful stares, the orangutan beats the little kid. But not by very far. Picture: SuppliedSource:AP

In spite of any promises made by the title, War for the Planet of the Apes shares more in common with an old-fashioned epic western than a conventional war picture.

What the movie may lack in terms of military shows of strength, it more than makes up for with a collection of characters, events and atmospherics that secures the intense involvement of all viewers.

The end result is a skilfully calibrated tale of revenge, regret and redemption. The style of storytelling employed here could hardly be classified as complex. However, few screenplays this year will match War for the Planet of the Apes for pure, direct narrative potency.

 

Originally published as War for Planet of the Apes another ripper

Source: News Corp Australia Network:

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