MOVIES: War for the Planet of the Apes

War for ApesI saw War for the Planet of the Apes today. I was disappointed.

After the hype the trailers – and some of the reviews – raised, I found the movie lacking in the sense of awe I experienced in its two successors. The first – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – had a moving poignancy. I thought the second – Rise of the Planet of the Apes – was raw and powerful.

I had hopes, in the third one, to see Andy Serkis once again show us why capture motion acting needs to be treated seriously. All I saw was a man — to be sure a talented actor — in an ape suit; this one painted on him by a computer.

I found the writing strained and the story pedestrian. The actors tried; there were strong performances by Serkis and Steve Zahn (who stole the show), but there was nothing there to support them. Through it all, there were pitiful attempts to bring the story full circle, to make connections to the very first Planet of the Apes in 1968.

Like the 1968 movie, most of the apes walked fully upright (and looked like people in ape suits), Caesar, Serkis’ character had a young son name Cornelius (the name of the chimp in the 1968 version) and a young, blonde mute girl was given the name Nova (a name used for a human woman in the 1968 movie) in a very clumsy fashion.

All in all, a sad experience. I cannot recommend it.

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