“War For The Planet Of The Apes” Proves Why The World Needs Damned Dirty Apes!!!
By Scott Kurland
Film: War For The Planet Of The Apes
Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Amiah Miller, Terry Notary, and Gabriel Chavarria
Director: Matt Reeves
It really razzes my berries when Hollywood doesn’t give any credit to voice actors.Worse than overlooking voice actors however, is the constant snubbing motion capture artists. Would “The Lord of The Rings” be any good without Gollum? Of course not. What about “Rango”? They don’t simply incorporate motion capture, but performance theatre as well. Let’s not forget about “The Polar Express,” and a motion capture Tom Hanks and his motion capture mustache...ok, maybe we can skip that one. I only bring this up because this week’s film is “War For The Planet Of The Apes,” starring the hardest working man in the industry; Andy Serkis. If you don’t believe me, just look at his IMDB page. You will be amazed. Now, let’s find out how good his newest film is shall we?
“War For The Planet Of The Apes” picks up several months after the events of “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.” Caesar (Andy Serkis) is ruling his fellow apes with a stern, but fair hand. Problems seem to be mounting for Caesar because his former adversary Koba (Toby Kebbell) led a one-Ape-war against the humans, and it is time to pay the piper. Caesar’s newest obstacle is a sociopathic Colonel (Woody Harrelson). The Colonel is so far off the deep end he makes Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz look like “Mrs. Doubtfire.” As Apes become hunted and enslaved, Caesar must allow his humanity to outshine his fury or, like man, the apes will fall.
If you know anything about me, you know I love “Planet Of The Apes.” Not just this new series, I’m talking about all of them (including Tim Burton’s nightmare of an entry). I love seeing how humans come to fear that which we have evolved from. Matt Reeves has taken these last two films and given us something truly outstanding. His script that he wrote with Mark Bomback is genius. They take a serious topic about race and flip it on its head. They also take Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and explore the deeper themes of that book. What truly surprises me is how two of the strongest films of the year both are reminiscent of “Apocalypse Now” and both feature primates (The other film of course is “Kong: Skull Island”). Reeves’ direction paints the scene, but it is Andy Serkis and his team of motion capture artist that steal the film
It’s one thing to give a Shakespearean performance, but it’s an entirely new ball game when the bard-worthy performance is done by Apes. There’s something to admire about what Andy Serkis can do with a motion capture suit and the right script. Serkis might possibly be the greatest living actor we have, because of how he can truly lose himself within the role. Throughout three films, Serkis was able to show the evolution of a person from childhood to adulthood, to becoming a supreme ruler of a class of highly-developed primates. Yet, this time it's his entire team of artists that shine. Karin Konval has been my favorite part of these films as Maurice; the good hearted orangutan and Caesar's right hand. Now, there’s a new kid on the block in the form of Steve Zahn as a damaged chimp named "Bad Ape". Zahn’s performance is so tender and yet so funny. I truly wish The Academy Awards gave out statues for motion capture. This film signifies why we need that category.
“War For The Planet Of Apes” is one of the best depictions of a war torn dystopia I’ve seen since “Children of Men.” Serkis and Harrelson shine as hero and villain, but it’s the evolution of these films that really make it worth viewing. Seeing the downfall of man and how flawed we truly are is possibly the best part of this series. I don’t know if they’ll make a fourth film because, to me, this was a great trilogy. Even so, I’d pay good money to see what happens next. “War For The Planet Of The Apes” is a must see film. The story is stellar, the acting is insanely good, and it is filled with amazing CGI that makes these apes look so damn dirty real.
REVIEW RATING: A-