War for the Planet of the Apes (Matt Reeves, 2017)

What's it about? Caesar the smart chimp (Andy Serkis) only want to live in peace with his fellow apes, but a bunch of pesky humans, who have survived the Simian Flu which virtually wiped out humankind, forces him to fight back. If you need a refresher, check out my reviews of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Is it any good? A satisfying conclusion to the new Planet of the Apes trilogy, which again succeeds by placing characters we can root for in crowd-pleasing scenarios to rousing effect. This time round, we get the furry Spartacus theme of the first two films mashed into a Vietnam war movie (primarily Apocalypse Now), with a little bit of The Great Escape mixed in for good luck. Once again, the motion capture special effects is just astoundingly good - watching an orang-utan and a chimp discuss the morals of war has never seemed so convincing - and this helps invest us in the fates of the various apes. On villain duties, Woody Harrelson has great fun impersonating Colonel Kurtz as he barrels from shouty scenery-chewing to quieter moment of angst, which includes a nice father-son theme running through proceedings which demonstrates a bit of thought has gone into how it plays out. I could have done without the comic relief of Bad Ape, which jarred somewhat with the rest of the film, and there's the usual implausible developments which go with blockbuster territory. But for the most part, this is engaging, enjoyable stuff.

Anything else I should know? People smarter and more dedicated than me have of course written elsewhere about all the nods and easter eggs to the original Planet of the Apes franchise. If you have nothing else to do, you can read about them here. I'm off to watch the football.

What does the Fonz think? Ape-pocalypse Now. Bet no-one else has thought of that.

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