War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

<strong class="MovieTitle">War for the Planet of the Apes</strong> (2017)

(On Cable TV, April 2018) Nobody expected the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes reboot to be worth anything after the increasingly campy tone of the first series or the dumb 2001 remake. So it’s a surprise to conclude, after watching War for the Planet of the Apes, that the new trilogy has managed to exceed all expectations to deliver one of the finest, most sustained film series of the decade so far. After nailing a surprisingly realistic tone for the first film in the series, the two others managed to head in the same direction. It helps a lot that the series has been a high-water mark for CGI character creation: Entirely digital “Caesar” is a memorable character with numerous emotional moments and the film is nearly flawless in how it portrays him on-screen. The trilogy tells how humans cede the planet to apes and this third instalment describes the final battle of the changeover, with enough perfidious humans to make us feel better about the succession. (If there’s a theme to this decade’s finest Science-Fiction, it’s that from robots to apes, humanity is ready to accept that we may be supplanted by something more human than itself.)  Writer/director Matt Reeves leads the film with a sure hand, adding depth and sentiment to what could have been a noisy spectacle. War for the Planet of the Apes wraps up the trilogy in a way that almost makes us feel not asking for one more for fear of tainting the impact of the three films so far. Who could have expected that only a few years ago?

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