I can't think of a better way for the new "Planet of the Apes" trilogy to have ended than the way Matt Reeves concluded it in "War for the Planet of the Apes." We were given satisfying closure when it comes to the legend of Caesar and his band of advanced primates and their struggle for survival and search for a better home away from the angry eyes and arms of humanity. Here is a movie trilogy that will stand the test of time and be held in high regard for years to come.
Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson). After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both of their species and the future of the world in "War for the Planet of the Apes."
With every film in the series, the CGI for the apes got better and better and the same can be said about this entry. Breathtaking cinematography and an engaging script really take the film above and beyond your typical summer blockbuster fare. Couple that with extremely strong and emotional performances from Woody Harrelson and Andy Serkis and you have something you can really sink your teeth into.
I'm not prepared to say that "War for the Planet of the Apes" didn't have its minor problems. There were definitely moments where my suspension of disbelief was almost pushed to its limits. Military soldiers never look over their shoulders to see if they're being followed? They don't notice apes on horseback following them 300 feet back on flatland? Guards on a skywalk don't notice that a crowd of baby apes are being smuggled out of their cages? A little girl just meanders into a military base unseen?
I also found the soundtrack to be less than exciting in comparison to "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes." The score really seems to be just incidental and meant to do nothing more than shadow the action onscreen. It was very reminiscent of what we get with a Marvel comic book movie. There's no real themes for any events or characters in the movie - certainly nothing too memorable.
I can't help but think how original "Planet of the Apes" producers Richard Zanuck and Arthur P. Jacobs and actor Charlton Heston would think of "War for the Planet of the Apes" if they were alive to see it. What I envision are these three gentlemen sitting in a darkened theater together with their jaws wide-open through huge smiles. All of them are teared up and thinking to themselves, "This is what we were always shooting for."
"War for the Planet of the Apes" is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, thematic elements, and some disturbing images. Lots of humans and apes get shot in the movie. There are some scenes of torture that some might find startling to watch.
"War for the Planet of the Apes" came out July 14, 2017. It was directed by Matt Reeves. The cast includes Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, and Amiah Miller. The running time is 140 minutes.