BEIRUT: With this summer’s blockbusters over flooding the box office, and audiences continuing to suffer from franchise fatigue, it seemed that Hollywood’s anticipated turnout was failing.
A fruitless box office could spell disaster for Hollywood, but hope was reignited with the final entry in the rebooted Apes trilogy.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), was a reboot done right and due to its success garnered a darker sequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and this year’s emotional finale War for the Planet of the Apes. The second and third entry both helmed by Matt Reeves, are not just great sequels, but great films.
Not only were did the films push the cinema motion capture technology towards the unimaginable territory, but their narratives divulged powerful themes of oppression and standing up for one’s rights, family and unity, and the effects of war and hate.
The final chapter of Caesar’s tale, an echo of the story of Moses and the infamous exodus out of Egypt, the apes face off against the last of the human race led by the Colonel, a madman with a very gray outlook on the future of humanity.
After an act that shatters Caesar and brings out his inner Koba, Caesar’s final journey is one that is not an exterior war like the trailer might suggest, but an internal war.
This concretes the film and is the sole reason why the narrative works on so many levels.
Matt Reeves, who also co-penned the screenplay, places the characters in the forefront and doesn’t use big action pieces unless the narrative demanded it.
Reeves even going as far as using extreme close-ups of the apes, which showcased the amount of work that WETA Digital did to ensure that the Apes looked real. Yet, realism is only a minimal feature of what WETA Digital brought to the film’s ensemble, the magic was that the computer created creatures had emotions.
For years, the greatest weakness CGI characters had was the lack of proper expressions and emotions, which rendered the creations soulless with lifeless eyes.
In War for the Planet of Apes, more so than its predecessors, this obstacle has been overcome and this is all due to Andy Serkis, the master of motion capture, and his team of animators.
War delves deeper into its characters and brings a new antagonist for Caesar to face off with. The Colonel is essentially what Caesar could become, his darkest shadow. Woody Harrelson delivers a nuanced performance and perfectly plays off of Serkis.
Yet as this chapter marks humanity’s fall, the films beautifully innocent surprise, as the young Amiah Miller, who is the only human ally that the Apes have.
A mute girl, and the sign of human devolution, she connects with Maurice, the orangutan, and eventually asks him if she herself is an ape, a question that resonates and shows the depths the writers and the director were willing to go to tell a heavily thematic tale.
To colorize the film’s themes, Michael Giacchino again delivers a formidable score, with music that is beyond emotional.
As Caesar’s legacy comes to a close, and the Apes find paradise, the track that accompanies is both heartbreaking and hopeful which is no easy task.
An echo to what the original Star Wars films did, this biblical end to the Apes trilogy, leaves fans wanting more, which is exactly what a successful trilogy should do.
Though this is the official end to Caesar’s trilogy, the studio can and might return to the world of the Apes, especially due to the amount of story left to tell.
For now, however, this tale comes to a close and leaves behind a legacy and a character that will never be forgotten.
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