Movie Review – Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes


When you talk about longest running sci-fi franchises it is easy to slip into the Dune did it before Star Wars debate. While Godzilla is no doubt the big lizard daddy when it comes to sci-fi that walked so others can run you cannot skip Planet of the Apes. With 5 films in the original series before 3 more in the recent prequel trilogy it already was boasting a pretty significant number of films but how can the 9th film in the franchise return us to the Planet of the Apes.

As mentioned Planet of the Apes gores pretty far back. Originally adapted from a 1963 French sci-fi book into a film in 1968 it was a cautionary tale with a twist when a astronaut returns to earth to find the human population gone and instead intelligent apes being the ruling species. While the first film gave us some of the most iconic lines to ever come off screen it was very much a story set in the future leaving out how it got to be that way a mystery.

Ignoring the 2001 Tim Burton remake that switched Charlton Heston for Mark Wahlburg, it wasn’t until 2008 when Dawn of the Planet of the Apes began a prequel trilogy to explain what happened and it went something like this.

In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ‘Caesar’ became a test ape for an Alzheimer’s vaccine, the vaccine did not work as intended with Caesar instead having growing intelligence learning to speak in addition to sign language. 15 years later in Rise of the Planet of the Apes it became clear that the vaccine in Caesar mutated and was more of a virus now infecting more simians but having an effect on humans making them dumber. In War for the Planet of the Apes Humans and Apes met conflict with Caesar ultimately leading his people off to build their own society.

That is basically it for the first 3 films which by large are a complete trilogy for the Planet of the Apes series in a how did this happen/prequel series. The latest film while it does acknowledge it continues from those films it is set ‘many generators later’ when Caesar is long gone and Apes are definitely the most dominate species. In human terms Apes are living in almost feudal times with various tribes spread out. This is where we pickup with Noa of Eagle Clan who train Eagles to fish for them. Crossing paths with a human aka Ciri from the Witcher the Eagle Clan is raided by a much larger Clan ruled by an ape taking Caesar’s name, and now Noa has to get them back.

This is pretty much the film which was shot against the backdrop of the NSW coastline for backdrop of an almost entirely CGI/motion captured cast. Coming in at a little over 2 hours the film itself is not a continuation of the first trilogy but more of a new chapter with a new director who was behind much of the Maze Runner series and new writer with credits including Avatar: The Way of Water and the Snowpiercer Netflix series.

While it is nice to have some backstory this film actually functions as it’s own complete standalone tale that could be used as either a one and done, or the start of a new trilogy. While there is a LOT of CGI in here of course it flows pretty satisfyingly with no shortage of action by non-human actors without it feeling overwhelmingly like a Bayformers film yet still making this feel like it should be a big screen film. It probably also helps that the story is more hero setting out to save his village than reluctant hero pushed to stop world ending threat

So should you go see it? While this is now the 3rd monkey related film we have seen this year and the second shot in Australia – Planet of the Apes is definitely set far apart from the others and if you wished the prequel trilogy was a little bit more Planet of the Apes and less Planet soon to be this will scratch that itch. If you are on team ‘Apes Together Strong’ or not, we are keen to see where this is going, even if it is just to see how long the title of these films can get.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is in cinemas across Australia from May 9th

Andrew B

Current Resident of Reality C-137. Possible Robot from Westworld. Does lots of random stuff.

Story and Characters
Visuals and Effects
Enjoyment Factor
Previous articleComic Pull List – May 9
Next articleThis Week in Games: May 13 – 18
Andrew B
Current Resident of Reality C-137. Possible Robot from Westworld. Does lots of random stuff.
movie-review-kingdom-of-the-planet-of-the-apesKingdom of the Planet of the Apes shows that the PotA franchise did not end when Andy Serkis' prequel trilogy did. Whether the new film is a satisfying self contained story or setting up for a new trilogy that may overwrite the original remains to be seen, but for now it shows there is still more tales from the earth ruled by apes left to tell. P.S. You do not need to stay until the very end of the credits unless you want to hear a faint audio stinger.