Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes (Spoiler Free)

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I'm a little behind getting this out after Kat and I watched it on release night but... holy shit. It was amazing. I grew up with the original series of films because Mom is a fan of them and I was lucky to inherited all kids of awesomeness from her. Also, there was a show as well as an Animated series. Forget about that other one though. You know which one. The one we don't speak of. Anyway, even though they were well before my time, I was fairly young when I started watching Planet of the Apes stuff. As young as I was I knew that there were things happening beyond all that stuff I thought was cool. Things that were waiting for me to get older. Over the years I had grown fonder of them as I became more aware of what those stories were really about. Fast forward a bit through a couple of decades of mostly blockbuster action sci-fi films lacking depth and stop when you reach August of 2011 when the first film in this prequel trilogy, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, came out.

Both Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and its sequel Dawn, represented a rarity in film. They were more than what is on screen in any given scene. There is this thing that science fiction readers understand about the genre that, for the most part, rarely transcends into film. That the ideas that live in between the scenes and the lines of dialogue are just as important as the special effects or whatever speculative environment they take place in. The themes in science fiction are the wheels on which the narrative turn. The genre at its best is a way for us to look backward and forward simultaneously and tell a story that has weight beyond its ending.

War is much like the first two films. It doesn't skirt around its themes but it doesn't treat the viewer like an idiot either. It puts all the problems of its characters, all its narrative conflicts, right on the table beside our own and makes the similarities hard to ignore. And holy shit is it a beautiful and moving conclusion to that trilogy. I knew to expect some things but was still unable to control my emotions several times. The effects get better each time as well but I just wish people understood how important the motion caption is to enhance an actor’s performance. It's more acting than visual effect and the whole cast, humans and apes alike, deserve unending applause for bringing this amazing piece of work to life.

It's a bleak world, with some hard truths about where we've been and where we're going but it never becomes didactic and is not without hope. There are a lot of historical parallels drawn throughout, as well as current ones, and a few very endearing moments of levity that speak to the humorist that, hopefully, resides in all of us. It asks a lot of questions that it expects us to take on our way out because the answers aren't in the narrative. They're not for Caesar or The Colonel but for us.

I know they closed out the trilogy arch here but, as a fan of the original series, I would love to see how some of those events play out through this new and incredibly stunning lens.