Movie Review – War for the Planet of the Apes


Up front we need to say before this week the last and only Planet of the Apes movie we had seen was the 2001 Post-Funky Bunch Mark Wahlberg film which was intended to reboot the series. So when we knew we were doing a review of the latest Planet of the Apes film we had to do a little homework.

War for the Planet of the Apes is the third film of the new installment for the franchise which has roots going back as far as 1963 for the novel and 1968 for the first film of with 4 sequels following until 1973. It wasn’t really until the 2001 Tim Burton film that took the series from cult status back to the masses. The latest film is a continuation of the series started in 2011 as a reboot (or possibly prequel) attempt.

SPOILERS AHEAD – If you haven’t seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes you probably want to stop here. Normally we might say it isn’t necessary but in the case of this series you really do need it.

For those reading on, the story goes like this in Rise of the Planet of the Apes a Alzheimer researcher (James Franco) develops a potential cure that creates a smart ape, Caesar. During the course of events Caesar learns both the good and bad of humanity which leads to the ‘cure’ getting out infecting apes, making them smarter, and infecting humans, making them dead’er.

In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes we skip ahead 15 years to most of humanity being wiped out and Humans and Apes looking to coexist. This does not go according to plan with an Ape named Koba who had been mistreated by humans, framing them for an attempt on Caesar’s life which then starts a war. During this conflict humans call in reinforcements which is where War for the Planet of the Apes continues.

Off the bat if you have never seen the series like us, it is worth sitting down and watching the last two films before you see this one. More importantly you almost have to see the previous two. With the story continuing to follow Caesar as our main protagonist but him as he has been shaped across the previous movies.

This does pose a problem because it is hard to tell you more about this movie without that background which is probably the biggest issue with this film. While this is a great film and a superb continuation of the story of Caesar it is just that, the continuation. Trying to jump on at this point would be like picking up a book your friends recommended and starting 200 pages in.

For those of you who HAVE seen the previous films this film does have elements that it brings to the table to make it stand out from the last film making it a worthy continuation. This is even more so impressive given that it shares the same director and writing team as the last successful film, so it would of been easy to rubber stamp something like the previous. The way the film is approached early on and pushing for evolving where the Apes place in the world made this feel like we were getting something new and different from the last.

While not the most special effect driven movie for explosions and action sequences (though there is still a bit of that) at points during this film you may forget that most of the apes on screen are driven by motion capture. Apes are clearly the heroes of this story and in the war between humans and apes you will probably find yourself on the Ape side. The interaction and characters here is rich and deep, and in some places better acting then some humans in other films.

In short, should you watch this? Yes. Is it a massive action movie? No. Did you see the previous two Planet of the Apes movies? No? Might want to go watch those first. But if you have seen the previous films you probably don’t need us to tell you that you should go see this one.

War for the Planet of the Apes is in Cinemas across Australia from today

Story and Characters
Visuals and Effects
Enjoyment Factor
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  1. It’s hard not to notice the first two glaring mistakes mad in this review. The names of the first instalments incorrectly chronologically identified. Please, if you are going to attempt to conduct some research prior to writing a piece of criticism at least describe and identify relevant media in the correct order. This shows laziness and a general apathy for the work. It may seem picky, but that coupled with a lack of awareness of the range of media Planet of the Apes has permeated through illustrates a clear knowledge deficit.

    This review would have benefitted with a little more exploration into the influence and subsequent changes the social commentary within the franchise has made with each instalment/saga that has come since.

    It was a good movie and definitely special effects heavy, contrary to your observation (I know you said in the action department). I would be interested to hear what you think…

    It is strange that a critic from a site called Geek Society is so unfamiliar with the global sensation and cult following of a series of films that have moulded many science fiction films/media since.

    • HI Gabriel, thanks for pointing out the error in putting the titles backwards on the previous instalments, fortunately it was only the titles in error not descriptions were not. We did re-watch the ‘current’ run of Planet of the Apes films before watching the most current which we thought was pretty important.

      We did consider an in-depth look at all the films to date including the originals from the 1960-70s as to why they were important. But, one of the things that is core to what we do here on this site is try to make things more accessible so we try to look at how someone who might be interested in something new can get into it as quickly as possible without ruining it for them by telling them more than they need to know or punishing them for not already being a fan. We prefer to focus on what people might like, and things for what they are, instead of going overboard on criticism. We don’t want to be critics on movies, we just want to help by telling people enough with as little bias as possible so they can make an informed decision for themselves.

      On the special effects we though the special effects were subtitle enough that people may not realise they were mostly mocap because it wasn’t a heavily driven special effects film in the explosion department. So that is why we gave it quite a high score in the Visuals and Effects score.

      Sorry if the review made you mad with the glaring mistakes, was the two titles being switched the 2 mistakes you are mentioning or was there another mistake you are referring? We have corrected that single error, thanks for pointing it out.

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