Reviews: War For The Planet Of The Apes

That\'s What You Get For Not Hailing to the Chimp

Apes are hilarious and infinitely more sympathetic than most Hollywood actors, and the premise of gorillas with a machine guns trying to take over the world should have me clawing for the cinema ticket booth. Instead though, I've barely paid any attention to the Planet of the Apes reboot, having only caught occasional bits of the new movies on TV. Finally I've pulled myself together and sat down to watch the (ludicrously worded) third title in the series, War For the Planet of the Apes, and now I know why I wasn't so interested. Much like Avatar, War For the Planet of The Apes seems like a very expensive way to visit a fairly trite story.

Every second of Warfor, I knew exactly what was going to happen next in Warfor. It is so by the numbers in its story telling, set up/pay offs, and character design that there was absolutely no surprises in-store. The premise, if you haven’t been following the movies so far, is that a colony of super-intelligent apes are spreading themselves throughout the American wilderness. Mankind is collapsing into a state of civil war, and the only way to get back on top of the food chain is to keep persecuting the apes. The movie is told almost exclusively from the perspective of Chimps, Gorillas and Orangutans, as they try to move from one refuge to the next to escape deadly human commando raids.

The humans (with the help of a few quisling apes), are a spec ops group called Alpha and Omega. Remembering back to the Charlton Heston movies, Alpha and Omega is important in relation to a gang of psychic super-humans who eventually blow up the entire world with the bomb of all bombs. That doesn't really come up here though, with the soldiers being a gang of sneering, ape enslaving, religious nut jobs who throw around quotes like "the only good ape is a dead ape". The Custer references are echoed by their leader, "The Colonel", who is portrayed as Woody Harrelson, putting on an impression of Marlon Brando as Col. Kurtz. The movie tries, and succeeds to some extent, to give him more than two dimensions, but ultimately it needs him being a fanatic who crucifies apes because that's about all we've come to expect from the military industrial complex in sci-fi movies.

I didn't exactly have a bad time during Warfor; The apes are quite funny and their leader, Caesar, is plenty relatable. But they've not got a lot to build off of, and having such a predictable plot means you're gaining little from the two hours and twenty minutes you've paid for. Truth be told, I'm surprised these things manage to recoup their big budgets and warrant this many sequels – there is only so much charisma a poop slinging Chimpanzee can have.