Viewed – 14 July 2017 Cinema
Following an invasion of their home by a military force, ape leader Caesar (Andy Serkis) vows revenge and sets off to hunt down Woody Harrelson’s ruthless Colonel with a small group of fellow apes. Along the way they stumble upon a young mute girl who may be evidence of a mutated strain of the disease that has already killed off most of mankind.
A decidedly strange experience. I went into this with very high expectations and have to say what I got was a different movie than I was anticipating. It has the word ‘war’ in the title but it’s not the humans vs. apes smack down the last movie set us up for. Instead it explores an on-going conflict set at ‘war time’ between said apposing military force and the still attempting to live in peace apes. However what we do have is once again a movie with a great deal of heart, some very touching character moments, themes of loyalty, family and friendship as well as a little comic relief in the form of an ageing lone ape who turns up half way through. We get a lengthy prisoner-of-war sequence that is brilliantly played out with echoes of The Great Escape, and some decent action although nothing on par with the last two movies. This one’s less about explosions and spectacle and more about the search for a safe haven and a potential future, even if that future is hopeless for humans. As a conclusion (?) to the trilogy, it feels a tad uneventful and drags in places, and that ending was rather a damp squib.
Yet for fans like myself this is still solid entertainment. It’s superbly acted with again top marks going to Serkis, whilst Harrelson delivers a fine villain. It’s also absolutely stunning to look at (can these apes get any more real?) aided by plenty of personality and bags of emotion. I just suppose by a third movie, I was expecting more not … less.
Verdict: 4 /5