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'War for the Planet of the Apes' in league of its own

Published:Saturday | July 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMDamian Levy
Golden Globe nominee Andy Serkis stars as Caesar in ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’.

Despite being prequels to a well-known movie franchise, the recent Planet of the Apes films have had unprecedented success, both critically and commercially. The third film chronicling the beginning of the saga, War for the Planet of the Apes, takes place five years after the events of its predecessor, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. After being forced into conflict, Caesar and his people are struggling. In order to survive, and for the ape revolution to succeed, these smart apes must be smarter than ever, as the war for the planet wages on.

To be frank, War for the Planet of the Apes is exactly what most have come to expect. The visuals throughout the movie are mind-blowing. The attention to detail given to the apes and the environment is remarkable. The series continues to be one of the best-looking franchises of its time. The performances by Andy Serkis and company behind each ape are nothing short of breathtaking. Having the technology to capture said performances is extremely gratifying, as War for the Planet of the Apes gives a legitimacy to a season otherwise known for less intelligent films.

Having said that, the movie did not entirely thrill me. I spent most of the first half feeling underwhelmed by the film as it went on. I felt as though there were one too many moments that were either entirely predictable or simply uninspired. At certain points, it felt like the movie was taking the easy way out. I would see the film set up something conventional, hope for it to surprise me, only to be treated to a moment that feels cheap, rather than evoking a genuine emotional response.

Even at it's worst, War for the Planet of the Apes is still leaps and bounds over its competition. Despite my qualms with the first half, the second half of the movie did deliver wholeheartedly. Even those issues I had, I suspect will be less disdainful upon rewatching the film. On the whole, the movie is a well-made, contemplative, and extraordinarily impressive picture. Although I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I wished to, it still very much deserves your attention at the cinema.