War for the Planet of the Apes Review

 

Why does this franchise exist? I mean the MCU exists as a licence to print money, the DCEU and Dark Universe exist as an experiment to see if you can create a similar licence without putting in the legwork. Bourne exists because America is desperate to reclaim the spy genre and Fast and the Furious because 12 year olds need their sugar rush.

But I can find no reason why pointless of the apes exists betting proving that Andy Serkis deserves a precious oscar that the nasty, tricksy academy is keeping from him.

I mean yes, the 1968 is one of the greatest films of all time with one of the most iconic and parodied endings of all time, and yes, the following films were hit hard with the law of diminishing returns but they created a perfect, eternal, causal loop. We don’t need a new franchise to explain how we got to the original film. We already know.

And weirdly, no-one seems to remember these films exist until the next one is about to hit cinemas. It’s just sort of… there.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, War for the pointless of the apes is amazing. Arguably the best blockbuster of the year but there’s just a curious futility to its existence.

There’s other niggles as well. This iOS apparently a post apocalyptic world with unlimited food, petrol and bullets and the apes seem weirdly ok with being naked in temperatures that are probably hovering around 0.

And despite constant references to a planet of apes, we never see or hear any mention of tribes beyond serkis, so it’s more a Small Wood of the apes than a planet.

But aside from that, I’ve got very little to criticise.

The film wanders from Vietnam movie to revenge western to Ape-pocalypse now towards the end. (That’s not one of mine by the way, it’s literally stencilled on a wall)

Don’t go expecting all out action as was inferred from the trailers, instead Logan would probably be the closest film I could think of. It has ruminations on war and revenge, justice versus vengeance, how far into savagery must you go to defeat the savage?

Even the villain, gets some measure of tragedy, his backstory and a new threat to what remains of humanity giving some understanding to his beliefs, giving layers to a character that could so easily have been a cardboard cutout.

The film looks incredible, with the apes looking like you could reach out and touch them.

Serkis needs his Oscar for his performance as Ceaser, the ape equivalent of Professor X who finds himself pushed deep into a darkness that film seems all to eager to explore.

Because this is a pretty dark film that might be too intense for younger viewers and I was very grateful for the comic relief character, even if he was called
Bad Ape.

With deep characters who have believable motivations, backed up by some of the greatest CGI creations ever made and some truly thrilling yet realistic action scenes this is the first (and probably last) must see blockbuster of the year.

Just don’t believe all that guff about this being a trilogy, part four has already been greenlit.

My Score-See It Now

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The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 Review

 

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Lawrence Jennifer Lawrence
Josh Hutcherson Josh Hutcherson
Liam Hemsworth Liam Hemsworth
Woody Harrelson Woody Harrelson
Donald Sutherland Donald Sutherland
Philip Seymour Hoffman Philip Seymour Hoffman
Julianne Moore Julianne Moore

Plot: As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance.

Review 

Is that it?

In the last six months I have seen that trailer (which naturally contained all the films best bits bar none) more than I have seen my own mother. When the previous film was boring me to a stupor that threatened to become a full on doze at least I comforted myself that this film was going to be more action-focused.

Wrong.

Oh, and about those previous movies…. The film assumes that you’ve watched them straight before this one as no effort is made to introduce the plot, characters, situation….

There is a lot to like about this film. James Newton Howard does his usual sterling job on the soundtrack, a lot of the shots are exquisite, its clear that the costume designers were told “go nuts” and are having the time of their lives.

All the actors are putting in good performances, and I liked the way that it wrapped up all its lose ends.

But I was still bored stiff.

How can I put this? The heroine was useless. If Katniss and her unit/group of red-shirts had stayed at home playing Monopoly then the plot would not have been impacted in the slightest. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, films like Saving Private Ryan and Fury have proven that this can work, except in neither of those film was a character meant to be “the one” who can save the world.

The budget for this film was allegedly 160 million dollars and I have no idea where the money went. In the cinema, I was mentally trying to guess the budget and I came up with half that amount. The action scenes are small, with no stand out moments, most of the filming takes place on empty streets so where did all the money go?

Walking out of a sold out cinema, the atmosphere was lukewarm, no-body was discussing their favorite moment or how clever the satire was. It was on, it didn’t offend me, it stopped. Except, I was expecting more. I wanted the action, I wanted the suspense, I wanted a villain who didn’t seem to know from minute one that the game was up.

In short?

I want the film that I was promised in the trailers.

My Score- If Nothing Else

Final Note:

On February 6, 2015, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer revealed that there could be a potential fifth film in the Hunger Games franchise – a sequel or a prequel.