War for the Planet of the Apes

 

 

 

First, allow me to say this; I own every Ape film starting with the original Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston. These films are my guilty cult classic favorites. If all else fails, I will watch one of these films and I’m good. So this would beg to question how could someone mess up an Ape film with a huge built-in audience; well the answer to that question is scattered throughout this latest entry, War for the Planet of the Apes. Where on EARTH does one begin. This film is a bloody bore from beginning to end. It is a combination road-trip and revenge film and allegory all rolled into one. The only thing that is crystal clear in this film is that apes are good and humans are bad.

Now let’s get to the meat of the film. Ceasar, who is the ape leader, should have been a memorable character but instead, he was brooding and distinctly uninteresting. He was the reluctant hero trope seen in countless films, yet he was way too reluctant for this film to generate any real interest in what happens to him. Enter Woody Harrelson’s sterotypical bad guy who not only hated apes, but is also hell-bent on murdering humans who contracted some ape-virus that rendered them mute, which included his own son, thus becoming worthless in his warped sense of Nazi-level purity.

Oh yes, we had Nazi and American slavery symbolism all throughout this film in the way in which the apes were rounded up, put in chains and placed in work camps, with some literally being branded so that they could be subservient to the soldiers and being subjected to cringe-worthy and degrading taunts. These apes were also used as “overseers” to keep the captured apes in line. Oh and did I mention the multitudes of sub-plots, one in particular that involved the good “Northern” soldiers on the hunt for the I assume, “Southern” soldiers led by Harrelson, who’ve gone rogue and are pledging their allegience to a bastardized ideology of superiority, slavery and murdering those they deem inferior. The Civil War was also alive and well within this slow-moving cinematic snail.

War for the Planet of the Apes has gotten high marks on Rotten Tomatoes and has been lauded as “the best in the series”; “smart, thoughtful, confrontational and challenging”; “impeccable film of risky dramatic range” and a host of other wonderful reviews, but I don’t happen to feel that this film is any of that. I love intelligent films with an old-fashioned feel, but War for the Planet of the Apes is a slow-moving, schizophrenic snooze-fest that didn’t quite figure out what kind of film it wanted to be. It had no solid storyline and looked as if the writers and director decided to incorporate everyone’s cool sounding ideas, and as a result of that boundary-less direction, the director didn’t quite know how to piece all of those “fabulous” ideas together in order for the film to make sense. I have no doubt the film will be number one at the box office, but just because it comes out on top, doesn’t mean it’s a good film.

If you go see this film, just know that if you want some mind-blowing special effects, incredible battle scenes and an epic ending that will have you insisting on seeing it again…you ain’t getting it with War for the Planet of the Apes. But what you WILL get is a film aimlessly meandering along with a ton of political messages and imaginery, laughable dialogue, a hard to follow storyline with characters that weren’t fully developed and a waste of over 2 hours that you will never get back.

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2 Comments

  1. Glad to know this. I’ll wait for Netflix or cable.

  2. Nice critique. Watch for it to get to On-Demand.


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