good times local news media events catalyst santa cruz california metro silicon valley news local events san jose weekly aptos, capitola, soquel, local news events paper gilroy dispatch local news events garlic festival santa cruz media events local california weekly king city rustler newspaper media local events car sales buy new car media
48.1 F
English English Español Español
March 20, 2023

'War for the Planet of the Apes' lives up to high standard

“War for the Planet of the Apes” was incorrectly titled and marketed. On the surface, there is no war and there’s no scene where hundreds of apes roll into a camp of human soldiers on horseback. Maybe “Skirmish for the Planet of the Apes” would’ve been a better, albeit less sexier moniker?

Though that may be a deal breaker for some, it is one of few things that are wrong with this film. Director Matt Reeves’ second romp through the ape’s universe is sensational in nearly every way. The story is deep, the characters are rich, the action is shot beautifully and the visual effects are the best I’ve ever seen. If this is indeed the final film in the series, which started with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” in 2011, I’m glad to say it is a more than satisfying send-off.

Andy Serkis (“Lord of the Rings,” “The Prestige”) is back as Caesar, the leader of the apes who is revered by his followers in near divine-like status. When his camp suffers an unimaginable tragedy, Caesar throws away his turn-the-other-cheek mentality and sets out on a tour of revenge against humans. “War” is almost exclusively Caesar’s story and that’s not a bad thing. There are several layers to Caesar. He’s been through hell since the beginning of the series and this chapter tests his will and character more than ever before.

Serkis is without a doubt the king of performance capture and brings it again in the lead role. I struggle to say that he should be nominated for his performance, taking into account animators’ additions in postproduction, but I will say that he is mesmerizing. Along with Serkis, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary and Michael Adamthwaite also shine under the performance capture mask as Caesar’s buddies Maurice, Rocket and Luca, respectively. All of their performances were solid and the effects in this movie make watching three to four computer generated apes more than palatable. What the visual effects team pulls off in this film is astounding and they continuously shove it into your face with closeups and long, dialogue heavy shots.

Like mentioned before, this is not a war film. There is one short all-out battle with tanks and attack helicopters. And that was enough. This film, after all, is taking place at a time where humans are being pushed to the edge of extinction and the world is barren because of that fact. It’s a premise that has been used plenty of times but is hardly ever executed correctly. Usually it’s a struggle between the forces of good and evil but Reeves and his team of writers went out of their way to show that people aren’t all good or all evil. There’s gray area in every conflict. There’s a reason why factions lash out against each other. In this case — as with many wars over the centuries — it’s from fear of extinction.

Woody Harrelson’s (“Zombieland,” “No Country for Old Men”) Colonel, who serves as Caesar’s foil, is the embodiment of these fears. Like the rest of the characters, he has a reason for his actions. Sure, he’s a little loony but in his eyes he’s the hero. He’s doing what he deems best for survival of the human race and the people caught in the middle are just casualties of his war.

With all this being said, “War” is not a perfect film. It definitely drags in its third act and the humor from Steve Zahn’s Bad Ape was hit-and-miss. But these are minor gripes in an overall stunning mix of visual effects and superb storytelling. A true summer blockbuster with substance.




1. “War for the Planet of the Apes”: $56,262,929 (Week 1); Fox. 

2. “Spider-Man: Homecoming”: $44,205,210 (Week 2); Sony. Total Gross: $207,275,524.

3. “Despicable Me 3”: $19,357,565 (Week 3); Universal. Total Gross: $188,399,715.

4. “Baby Driver”: $8,714,045 (Week 3); TriStar. Total Gross: $73,115,902.

5. “The Big Sick”: $7,529,590 (Week 4); Lionsgate. Total Gross: $15,966,414. 


 “Dunkirk” — Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard, Lee Armstrong

 “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” — A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna

 “Girls Trip” — When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

Director: Malcolm D. Lee

Cast: Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish

 “Landline” — In 1995, a teenager living with her sister and parents in Manhattan discovers that her father is having an affair.

Director: Gillian Robespierre

Cast: Jenny Slate, Jay Duplass, Abby Quinn, John Turturro

 “The Midwife” — A midwife gets unexpected news from her father’s old mistress.

Director: Martin Provost

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Catherine Frot, Olivier Gourmet, Quentin Dolmaire


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


juan fuentes kathleen crocetti watsonville brillante

Mosaic project part of downtown Watsonville art tour

WATSONVILLE—Around 240 people attended an art reception and walk Sunday in downtown Watsonville to view the works of San Francisco artist Juan R. Fuentes.  The...