First Impressions: War for the Planet of the Apes

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The latest trailer has just dropped for “War for the Planet of the Apes” and I still have a raging hard on. In case you live under a rock or are just an oblivious dickhead, this will be the third film in the prequel series to the 1970’s classic “Planet of the Apes”. The prequels have far exceeded expectations and if “War” keeps up the quality of the first two films (which it seems certainly up for the task), then we are looking at one of the best trilogies since Lord of the Rings.

Originally I had zero interest in this series as I found the concept to be daft and never truly appreciated the original, writing it off as too camp. Eventually, with one month to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes release, I was finally convinced (forced) to sit through “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (fuck me these titles are a mouthful). I was genuinely shocked, I found the film to be brilliant and far better than anything I would have expected. Suddenly my interest went from zero to all aboard the hype train for Dawn. Not only did “Dawn” also far exceed my expectations it also cemented itself as one of my favourite films of all time.

The tone in both trailers is very bleak and while “Dawn” had a pretty melancholy tone, everything looks dreary and miserable here. “War” will take place two years after the events of “Dawn” where Koba has set in motion a conflict between the humans and the apes. Caesar now finds himself fighting a war he didn’t start and has to endure the toll that war takes as the leader of the apes. The leader of the humans is a ruthless colonel played by Woody Harrelson, who believes he is fighting for humanity’s survival. In order to achieve this, he believes there can be only one dominant species on earth. The simian flu which killed off most the human population is set to make a return and has been described as evolved.

Director Matt Reeves has revealed a number of plot elements such as the existence of other super intelligent apes in the form of “Bad Ape” played by newcomer Steven Zahn who will apparently offer some comic relief. While Bad Ape is the only other bilingual ape announced, this raises an interesting question as to how many other bilingual or evolved apes there are in the world. This could vastly increase the scope of the film. The latest trailer has also revealed a gorilla who is sided with the humans. Little is known of this character yet or why his motivations lie with the humans but I think it’s safe to assume he’s an antagonist.

Harrelson’s Colonel will not so much be a villain but rather a sympathetic antagonist according to director Matt Reeves. In the first trailer, we see him holding a photograph which we can only assume is his young son who has most likely passed away. While we know he has no plans of sharing the planet with the apes his motives are still somewhat unclear. Perhaps the simian flu has returned and the Colonel sees the only way of culling the contagion is by exterminating the apes.

Caesar will be at his lowest point by the start of the film according to reports. Caesar has always carried the positive traits of humanity by showing strength, mercy, and kindness while actively avoiding humanity’s more destructive nature. At the end of “Dawn” we see that Caesar has abandoned the fundamental law governed by the apes and come to realize that the apes aren’t so different from humans. My guess is that after countless losses and through personal tragedy, Caesar will lose all regard for human life and eliminate any human who comes for him and his kin.

The little girl revealed in both trailers is mute and will be adopted by Maurice after Caesar kills her father in self-defence. This detail alone lets us know that Caesar has no qualms taking a life to protect his own. How this little girl will fit into the grand scheme of things is still a mystery however she could be the driving force for regaining Caesars “humanity”.

“War for the Planet of the Apes” will be released internationally on the 14th of July and I for one cannot wait. This is easily my most anticipated film of 2017.

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