WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
* * * * (Don)
* * * (Joyce)
(Exciting, sensitive sequel)
No doubt about it, we're rooting for the apes!
This exciting, sensitive sequel portrayed the apes as being much more human than the humans. It helps to be familiar with the back story. In previous films, the humans had experimented with apes, giving them intelligence, while they contracted a deadly virus.
The apes retreated to the forest to live in peace, while protecting themselves from a radical army led by The Colonel (Woody Harrelson). Andy Serkis is magnificent as Caesar, the noble ape who leads his clan against the fierce attacks of the humans, only to end up in a prison camp after the Colonel kills many of the apes, including his son.
While you could consider this a "war movie,” it is so much more. Caesar struggles with the need for revenge versus the need to protect and save his band of apes from total destruction. The war movie becomes an escape movie, as the apes are captured and Caesar and his handful of apes must find a way to rescue them.
The movie has heart, as Maurice, the loving, caring orangutan, protects a mute young girl (Amiah Miller), whose father they were forced to kill. The girl travels with them and plays a big role in freeing the captured apes and leading them to safety...but not before big casualties on both sides. There are many emotional moments in the two-hour and twenty-minute movie. There are good apes and apes that have gone over to the human side to save their skin. There are a few humans who are conflicted. And then there's a zoo ape who struggles with his own safe-being.
While this sequel is filled with adventure, conflict, action and excitement, it is the small, tender moments that rise above it all, and the strong message of "Why can't we all get along?"
The special effects are outstanding, and it won't take you long to accept the human characteristics, language and thoughtfulness of the apes. Add some moving background music, and you have one great summer movie.
Rated PG-13 for violence.