Director: Matt Reeves
Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn
Release Date: October 24, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
Andy Serkis returns as Caesar in the thrilling and climatic chapter of the PLANET OF THE APES saga as Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel (Woody Harrelson). After suffering unimaginable losses, Caesar resolves to avenge his kind, pitting him against the Colonel for a final showdown that will determine the future of the planet!
The third and climactic entry in the continually impressive new ‘Apes’ saga; ‘War For The Planet of the Apes’ rejoins Ape leader Caesar (Serkis) as the current location of his apes is brutally attacked, leaving numerous innocents dead. Always the compassionate one hoping to achieve peace against all odds, Caesar nonetheless attempts to make a peace offering by allowing the two remaining hostages to leave unscathed. But once a dangerous Colonel (Harrelson) invades and takes nearly everything Caesar holds dear, he sets out on a mission of vengeance as his lasting patience finally reaches the breaking point; with one inevitable final confrontation between man and ape looming.
Directed once again by Matt Reeves who also helmed the previous installment ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ from a screenplay he additionally co-wrote this time around with writer Mark Bomback (co-writer of ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Reeves again does a spectacular job at the helm of ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ guiding this climactic entry along its tense and emotional course with apparent ease. The film also owes a good share of credit to the talented cast comprised of both new and returning individuals to the franchise including Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Lord of the Rings franchise), Woody Harrelson (Now You See Me, Zombieland), Steve Zahn (Joy Ride, Sahara), Karin Konoval (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Diary of A Wimpy Kid) and a number more, nearly all offering highly capable performances in each of their respective roles and therefore allowing this incredibly human tale to work as flawlessly as it does.
‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ is another outstanding entry in the new ‘Apes’ saga that began with ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, continued with ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ and comes to a more than satisfying conclusion in this third and quite possibly final entry of the ever impressive franchise that only seems to become increasingly better with each subsequent installment, with ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ likely marking the best of this overall impressive trilogy. Furthering the story of Caesar and his loyal band of fellow apes, it’s a visually spectacular, emotional and just downright fantastic film in nearly every possible way that yet again only improves upon its predecessors in story, heart and groundbreaking visual effects in order to provide a satisfying wrap to one noteworthy series that won’t be soon forgotten. Director Matt Reeves (who also helmed the last installment ‘Dawn Of The Planet of the Apes’) once again does a fantastic job guiding this powerful tale along its tense course and his capable guidance is complimented a great deal by a talented cast including Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson and many more who each deliver notable performances and never miss a beat. Anyone who enjoyed the previous two entries in the new saga definitely won’t want to miss out on this outstanding and climactic third entry which is likely the finest installment yet. It wraps the storyline enough to leave fans thoroughly contented, while not completely disregarding the possibility of another film someday. It’s a dark, moving and absolutely gorgeous film that is perfectly suited (and worthy) to conclude this consistently impressive series that has excelled beyond expectations every step of the way. I would strongly urge fans of ‘Rise’ and ‘Dawn’ that haven’t yet had the pleasure of ‘War For The Planet of the Apes’ to make a point of checking it out as soon as possible, it shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
Overall, ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ serves up a perfect final installment in the ever-impressive new ‘Apes’ franchise and delivers a powerful, visually stunning and action packed adventure that will capture your attention and keep you enthralled until the final powerful moments. Director Matt Reeves once again does a magnificent job guiding this emotional tale along its gloomy course and the talented cast yet again led by Andy Serkis combined with the breathtaking effects constantly on prominent display truly seal the deal and make this one phenomenal film. ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ easily earns my highest recommendation, although I would strongly encourage those who haven’t seen the first two installments to do so prior to viewing ‘War’. It serves as a perfect conclusion to this continually phenomenal franchise and anyone who enjoyed the previous two movies won’t want to even consider missing out on the third entry which is also likely the finest of the trilogy. It should have no trouble whatsoever proving itself well worth both your time and the cost of a rental at the very least, and the hardcore fans who own the other two films but didn’t have the chance to catch ‘War For The Planet of the Apes’ in theaters should have few regrets coughing up the funds for a blind purchase.
The Blu-ray release of ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent as a whole and delivers a sharp, clean and beautifully detailed presentation from start to finish that suffers no noticeable faults along the way. It holds up admirably even during the many fast moving and darkly lit sequences and never causes anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Fox Home Entertainment that should easily thrill fans of the franchise.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack offers a crisp, clean and notably aggressive audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send plenty of bullets and debris zipping throughout the various speakers when appropriate, along with crowd chatter, nature activity and more, while never allowing any dialogue or other simultaneously occurring audio elements to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process, Overall, this is a top notch 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that makes a perfect complement to the film and sounds fantastic every step of the way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ includes a solid collection of worthwhile bonus content that fans of the films should appreciate. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Matt Reeves’, in addition to a number of ‘Deleted Scenes with Optional commentary by Director Matt Reeves’ (running approximately 23 minutes in length altogether). We are also treated to a collection of Behind the Scenes Featurettes which explore different aspects of bringing the film to life and featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, along with behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: Waging War For The Planet of the Apes’ (running approximately 30 minutes), ‘All About Caesar’ (approximately 13 minutes), ‘WETA: Pushing Boundaries’ (11 minutes), ‘Music For Apes’ (6 minutes), ‘Apes: The Meaning of it All’ (20 minutes) and ‘The Apes Saga: An Homage’ (8 minutes). Also included are ‘3 Theatrical Trailers’ for the movie (approximately 7 minutes combined) and a ‘Concept Art Gallery’ broken down into three sections: ‘Characters’, ‘Drawings’ & ‘Paintings’.