By Eddy Montilla.
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Written by: Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves
Genre: Action, adventure and science fiction
MPAA PG-13 (Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.)
Starring: Andy Serkis (as Caesar), Woody Harrelson (as Colonel), Karin Konoval (as Maurice), Steve Zahn (as Bad Ape) and Amiah Miller (as Nova)
Running Time: 140 minutes
If my memory serves me correctly, I think this is the second time in less than a month that a reader tells me that my movie rating is lower than other film critics’. The reason might be the fact that when we are getting old, we take one of these two possible paths: One acts leniently or becomes a grumpy man. In the field of movies, at least, I strongly believe that it is much better to take the second path than to be called “soft”. Therefore, what we see with our grumpy eyes in The War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) was an extension of the former films, no room to find something new for those with a discerning palate, which led to sharpen and sharpen to a point that the movie ended up as blunt as a knife.
In order to avoid being called “grumpy” three times in a row, I will start praising how well visual effects were used in this film. I have never been a friend to computer-generated characters, which in my opinion instead of being used as supporting material by directors, end up being the main core of their production, partly because many of them cannot work well with reality. War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) turned visual effects into something so natural, which can be appreciated in the scenes of the forest. I take my hat off to Matt Reeves for that. Reeves also handled very well the contrast between the title of his film and the plot: In fact, we were not in front of 140 minutes of belligerent actions as the title might suggest, but an “emotional war”: Caesar (Andy Serkis) fighting for peace and future for his group while also dealing with his own feelings of hate and vengeance for what happened to his family or Colonel (Woody Harrelson), burdened by the bad memories of what he did to his son.
Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) brings humor and the relationship between the apes and Nova (Amiah Miller), the little girl infected by a virus that led to a complete loss of the ability to speak, showed dramatically “the human side” of the apes that makes all of us, human beings, look like animals. As for Caesar, a lot of words are not necessary. To act behind a costume might be easy, to do it well is only for great actors. What Caesar (Andy Serkis) did with the expression of his eyes only is great enough to make you want to lick your fingers as if you were eating fried chicken. If Caesar was great in Rome, this Caesar was too, but in the jungle.
If I am praising the movie a lot, why was the rating so low? As I said in the first paragraph: I am getting a grumpy critic and this kind of writers will never evaluate very high a plot with a predetermined ending, a plot in which Caesar at the end of the film looks like a Moses who cannot enter the “Promised Land of the apes”. These are, in my opinion, the two critical points of this movie and if you pay attention to them, you will find only one thing in both points: Repetition, more of the same.
This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.
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