“In this thrilling climactic chapter of the Planet of the Apes saga, Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel (Woody Harrelson). But after suffering unimaginable losses, Caesar resolves to avenge his kind, pitting him against the Colonel for a final showdown that will determine the future of the planet!”
If there can be one remake that can check all the boxes when it comes to entertainment, originality, while staying true to the original source material and respecting it, it is the Planet of the Apes films. Growing up, I was a huge fan of the original films, and certainly consider the first to be one of my favorite science fiction films. I’d be glued to the TV when the Apes Marathon would be shown, fascinated by the timeline of all five films, how they all connect, and ultimately how the timeline is altered. Now, as an adult, viewing the film has different meanings, with deep themes throughout each film that reflect the issues in society during that era, many still prevalent today. To say I was the first to be skeptical of a remake is an understatement, but after the immense enjoyment of all three films, I could not have asked for a better treatment of one of my favorite series.
Firstly, I just have to applaud the filmmakers for such a superb job in keeping the films in line to fit nicely into the original universe. There are so many things that go unnoticed that only fans of the original would identify as tie-ins. The land beyond the desert that the apes seek, calls to the Forbidden Zone from the original. The Alpha and Omega symbols branded on the soldier’s heads, ties to Beneath the Planet of the Apes, where the remaining humans worship a nuclear weapon with those symbols carved into them. Though this could simply be a nod to fans, it is clear that thought and care went into crafting the film with respect to the originals.
Another thing that is so impressive about these films is the fact it is able to be so successful and entertaining to the masses when the majority of your cast doesn’t speak. It may seem as though I’m not giving the general public the benefit of the doubt, and you’d be right, I’m not. The technical achievements the film has accomplished have basically revolutionized digital acting. When I look at Andy Serkis playing Caesar, I cannot tell it is not real, save perhaps for only a few sequences. This has come a long way since the first film, looking spectacular now, raising the bar for all other films following.
As much as I thoroughly enjoyed War for the Planet of the Apes, there was one thing in it that almost ruined it for me. The antagonist. Woody Harrelson was not a good antagonist. Whether it was the writing of him, or choices by him to bring to the character, I don’t know. But I do know that he fits neater as a comic book villain than he does here. For what purpose does it serve to have him wear sunglasses at night at all times, but to remind us that he is bad? It’s a generic bad guy trait that does fit the sophistication of the rest of the film.
Although the film could end perfectly here as a trilogy, I hope the success it has brought ensures more Planet of the Apes films be created, effectively erasing the sour taste that the Mark Wahlberg film left in everyone’s mouths.
The 4K version is presented in 4k Ultra HD Widescreen 2.40:1. This transfer is among the best I’ve seen in 4k, really giving us the brilliant brights, deeper darks, and more lifelike colors that we can expect. There is a wide array of locations to prove this, the lush green forrest, dry desert sand and beaches, and the bright white of the snow covered mountains. It is all very impressive, one that I would highly recommended chosing over the standard blu-ray given the choice.
The audio is presented in Dolby Atmos, and like the picture quality, the audio ranks very high in presentation. Despite the lack of dialogue through most of the film, you are going to be compensated by a powerful presentation through the surrounds, including some intense battle sequences with explosions and gunfire, effectively turning your home into a war-zone.
There are quite a few extras on the disc, highly recommended that you check them out.
On this set you’re going to see:
- Audio Commentary by Director Matt Reaves
- Waging War for the Planet of the Apes
- All About Caesar
- Deleted Scenes
- Weta: Pushing Boundaries
- Music for Apes
- Apes: The Meaning of it All
- The Apes Saga: An Homage – Short, but perhaps my favorite of all of the extras, listing the tributes to the original films in all three of the remakes.
- Concept Art Gallery
War for the Planet of the Apes is a phenomenal inclusion into the Apes universe. Full of heart, excitement, and hope, complete with themes reaching far beyond the surface, a staple of the franchise.