Every since Charlton Heston uttered the ever-resounding line: “Get your paws off me you damned, dirty ape,” audiences have had a fascination with our less advanced simian relatives ascending to take, from us, that which we have quite badly abused.
In this, the third of the reboot sequel, Caesar (Andy Serkis), long-suffering from his initial goal of “Ape no kill Ape,” endured after a coup attempt by his once loyal second, Koba, leaving Caesar wounded, and an uprising among the remnants of humanity.
Humans had not fared so well. Wiped out by a virus that was created as an offshoot of the genetic experiments that gave rise to simian intelligence, most of the planet has been eradicated.
In this film, the war begins in earnest as crazed military man, known as “The Colonel”, played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson, sets out to capture, kill, torture, enslave any apes he can find. Caesar wants nothing more than to find an oasis far in the desert, discovered by his son. The plans, however, go awry as The Colonel captures Caesar’s tribe, including his wife and sons.
If you have not seen the film, it is the best of the series, bringing well crafted effects (there appears to be far less CGI) into realistic apes, and blending the original film with this modern-day version. It is a story of humanity, in its underlying themes, beginning with Caesar’s misguided hope of apes not killing apes, a blood lust that mankind surely understands so well. The ’cause’ of The Colonel, is no different from the cause of any nation under an iron-fisted rule (I will omit parallels to the USA for the sake of reader peace of mind,) as are the outcomes.
To say that the apes have only a long shot for survival against the military might that, in the end, truly cements the fate of all species involved, would be an understatement. Nonetheless, this is not just a film about man versus monkey.
Matt Reeves directed this visually stunning feast. And since the title, of both the original film, and the current iteration, includes the words “Planet of the Apes,” one does not have to stretch to find what will be the ultimate conclusion. In both versions, humanity becomes their own failure.
The ending, poignant, yet satisfying, does leave room for one more film, although it would appear for the sake of tidying up the loose ends to fully bring about this new order, or perhaps to explore it more along the lines of Charlton Heston’s character in the original 1968 film.
Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves
Stars: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn
Did you see it? Did you like it? Leave your comments.
As a side note, the film series originated from a French author, Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel “La Planète des Singes” or “Monkey Planet.” You can buy that or the English versions HERE.
If you’d prefer the videos of the movies, go HERE.