“War for the Planet of the Apes”

Release Date: July 14, 2017

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of violence and action, thematic elements, and some disturbing images).

Watching “War for the Planet of the Apes” was, for me, an exhausting experience.  This film has so much action, and so much dramatic tension, I found myself emotionally drained by the time the end credits rolled. 

Despite it being part of a franchise, this is not “just another Ape movie.”  It is a compelling story (written by Mark Bomback and the film’s director, Matt Reeves) in which the character Caesar (played poignantly by Andy Serkis) and his fellow apes face-off against the human military, led by a rogue colonel (Woody Harrelson). 

Although this is a man versus ape movie, parallels may be made to the inhumanity that exists in war, and certainly it speaks to the dire consequences which often result from misunderstanding others and focusing on differences.

Harrelson is downright scary as a soldier torn apart by personal tragedy who seeks his own sense of justice by any means necessary.  The performance by Serkis, aided through the much improved motion-capture techniques, brings life – and heart – to Caesar.  Both the actor and his character are, indeed, the heart and soul of this film.

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