Cinematic Releases: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) - Reviewed

Drenched in highly rendered tension, Matt Reeves finds a way to escalate an already excellent series to absolute greatness with his War for the Planet of the Apes. If you were a fan of the last two, be ready for an all out battle to the end. Influenced by Francis Ford Coppola's ode to the Vietnam war and the classic Dirty Dozen, this is hands down one of the best features of 2017. 

The Planet of the Apes trilogy comes to a rousing close with a dark and thunderous achievement befitting some of the greatest science fiction features of our time. Blending themes of familial loss, military empowerment, and the desire to win at all costs, mankind still finds itself at the brink of destruction as Caesar attempts to not tow the line of Koba's flawed need for power. As the group of apes once again finds itself in trouble, he must attempt to remain a leader, a father, and most of all the savior of his kind. 

As a third entry in a series about apes struggling for their own existence against the evils of mankind, Matt Reeves delivers a brutal action thriller that plays to a current political motif and a consistent narrative about man's love of war. As a finale, this War film pits the leader of the apes, Caesar against a militant commander that's not only deranged but has a penchant for brutality and unhinged bloodshed aimed at the apes and anyone that doesn't agree with his code of insanity. Compared to the other two movies in this amazing franchise, this is a picture perfect bookend that finally spends more time on the advanced primates of future earth than it does on human characters. And it can easily be defined as near cinematic perfection. 

Apes on Hoth. The latest sci-fi action trilogy. 

Many three picture deals seem to drag on in their final moments. They constantly retread and recreate scenarios we've seen in their originators. That is absolutely not the case here. War for the Planet of the Apes gives Woody Harrelson the chance to stretch his legs as a modern version of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz from Apocalypse Now as Andy Serkis once again proves his worth as one of the best actors of our time. He continues to give Caesar a natural performance that drips with astute emotion and believable physical motion. Backed up by Harrelson's spot on and undeniable tribute to Marlon Brando, this War is a never ending clash of wits between man and ape that echoes some of the finest prison escape movies we've ever seen. Combining the internment camp narrative with a bleak study of the need to survive against all odds, Reeves is on one hundred percent on point with his closing chapter. 

All three of these films have struck a fine balance that fuses action and sci-fi into one perfect amalgamation of genre intensity. Continuing the trend of CGI'd photo realism, amazing sets, a pulsating score, and a much needed dose of humor, this is the must see movie of the summer season. This is definitely the most grim of the saga, but it's a welcomed addition that doesn't take its audience for granted. War for the Planet of the Apes plays to our emotions and how we might react if this ever became our reality.