I was all in all pretty disappointed with this film, probably because of the high expectations I had to it. My wife has seen all the ape films including the classics and she did not like it either.
I'm quite an Ape-head, I've read several comicbook series, seen the TV series and all the films so far. Most of my concerns about the film come from it not being a very good follow up to the previous films and a few wasted opportunities here and there. It's one of the weakest Apes films of all times, but I still got some enjoyment out of it.
I'll go into depth later on, but here are some bullet points of my opinion on this:
- Apes references to other films were well done.
- Caesar is consistent with his character: generous, short-tempered and stoic.
- The plot fits the Planets of the Apes formula.
- Humans facing extinction and still managing to be the bigger threat to each other (done in an excellent way)
- Lesser moral conflict than in previous films. Everything seems to be ranked either personal conflict or survival, little subtelty left in between.
- Humans are batshit stupid and not likeable as characters.
- Nova is barely a character, she is pretty bland and stereotypical.
- Underwhelmed by the action sequences, they did not look pretty nor felt exciting.
- There was little tension through the film.
I would recommend watching it but probably not on the big screen.
This is my first post on this board; I just joined.
I recently saw War for the Planet of the Apes for the first time, on Blu-ray. I've always been a huge fan of the POTA films, and this is by far my favorite film in the franchise.
Also, IMHO War is the best of the three newer Ape films - and, I was a huge fan of the earlier two (Rise & Dawn). Great story, amazing battle scenes, and definitely very epic in scope. Visually, the film was stunning as well - especially the landscape & the winter scenes in the humans' battle camp. I was also extremely impressed by the CGI effects re: the Apes; if anything, there has been an improvement over what we saw in the first two films - and they looked great in the earlier movies, so that's saying a lot.
The Apes Winter & the Red Donkey Ape (the servant to the humans) were especially impressive; I'm not sure if these Apes had been in the previous two films.
I liked how the WH character admitted to Caesar that he realized the Apes were stronger than the humans, and he was also obviously impressed by the Apes' intelligence (specifically Caesar's). It was evident here that the humans didn't want to kill the Apes just because of simple hatred, they were genuinely & justifiably frightened that the Apes were going to take over the world.
Going along with this, I liked how there were no real clear-cut "bad guys" in the film. Yes, the humans were obviously the enemy & you were rooting for the Apes. However, as I said above, you could kind of see where the humans were coming to some extent, even if you didn't agree with their views. Also, I could even see the point of view of Winter (the traitor Ape), since he explained to Caesar that he had been threatened - which is why he gave away the hiding place of the Apes.
It was cool that the mute child (that the Apes took after they killed her father in self-defense) was eventually named "Nova", an obvious homage to Nova (Linda Harrison) from the original '68 film.
I did want to address a point that was discussed in other forums on the 'Net this past summer, which is the idea that War is supposed to eventually tie in to the original 1968 POTA film. I can definitely see the intent & the connection(s) here, notably:
1) The most obvious is the "explanation" as to how the humans become mute. As was seen in War, the muteness & seeming lowering of intelligence of the humans is becoming evident with some of the human soldiers as well as with Nova. As the WH character mentioned, the supposition is that the virus that started killing humans off (as seen at the end of Rise) somehow "mutated" and started affecting the surviving humans in this way. Presumably, this means that all humans will eventually become mute/animalistic; this also doesn't seem to be related to anything hereditary (i.e., parents passing this along to their children), but is specifically related to the mutating virus. Very creative way of "explaining" this phenomenon.
2) More Apes being able to speak. In the first two films, IIRC only Caesar actually spoke. However, in this third film the little Ape from the Zoo w/the Blue jacket (the "Bad Ape") also spoke, and was also wearing clothes.
However, I still don't see how War would tie into the '68 film, even if you don't take the subsequent films into account (Beneath, Escape, Conquest, and Battle). I.e., as has been discussed, in POTA when Taylor saw the remains of the Statue of Liberty it was evident to him & to the audience watching the film that there had been a nuclear war. However, there is no nuclear war in the world seen in these new films. Presumably, after the events in War the humans eventually become more animalistic & the apes slowly take over the world. I get that.
So, essentially, I saw War as having obvious homages to the original films, without tying in specifically to the '68 movie. Just my .02 - I know others may disagree with this.
^ Welcome to KMC. And nice review. I've been meaning to sit down and watch War... again. I look forward to doing so.
That is what makes these films so strong, the fact that the conflicts and characters are complex and not 1-dimensional cardboard cutouts for the purpose of good-vs-evil cliches. It's what makes these films so fun to watch and re-watch again and again.
Upon first viewing of War I still thought Dawn was my favorite. But I will rewatch War soon.