"highly watchable, entertaining and emotional piece of cinema that is well executed in terms of story and building tension"
The third film in the Planet Of The Apes trilogy sees the story of the chimpanzee Caesar (Andy Serkis), leader of the apes continue. This rebooted trilogy originally beginning with the film Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes in which an experimental Alzheimer's drug given to apes has the side effect of enhancing their intelligence, but the same drug when accidentally released also begins to spread and effect the human population causing death amongst them.
The story of the second film Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes continues 10 years after the original. The human population has been decimated by what has come to be known as Simian Flu. The apes have established a living colony with and an uneasy peace existing between the humans and them, until mutual distrust and parties on either side with their own agendas lead them both in to an armed conflict.
This leads us on to the third instalment on the franchise War For The Planet Of The Apes with Andy Serkis reprising his role of Caesar, introducing Woody Harrelson as The Colonel and Steve Zahn as Bad Ape, with Matt Reeves directing again. The action picks up two years after the previous film with the conflict fully raging between the humans and the apes.
War For The Planet Of The Apes opens with Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his colony of apes in the woods being attacked by the military. With losses they manage to defeat their attackers leaving a couple of human survivors whom they set free to return to their leaders with the message that apes want peace and to be left alone in the woods. However this message falls on deaf ears in the form of The Colonel (Woody Harrelson). A man hell bent on the annihilation of the apes.
The Colonel leads a night raid on the ape dwellings to kill Caesar during which he kills Caesar's wife Cornelia (Judy Greer) and their eldest son leaving only Caesar's youngest son Cornelius (Devyn Dalton) alive, whilst thinking he's killed Caesar. During the raid Caesar returns to his cave to see his family slaughtered at the same time he sees that The Colonel is responsible for the death of his family. Caesar pursues The Colonel as he is winched away by a helicopter. Caesar jumps on to the rope that The Colonel is attached too, only to have The Colonel cut the rope with Caesar falling down into a Waterfall.
Next day Caesar issues instructions for the ape community to relocate whilst informing them he is going to pursue The Colonel alone, however he is joined by Maurice (Karin Konoval), Luca (Michael Adamthwaite) and Rocket (Terry Notary). On their pursuit of The Colonel in an abandoned village they encounter a human who they are forced to kill in self defence. Looking for forgeable items in the village they discover a child (Amiah Miller) who is unable to speak. Possibly the daughter of the man they just killed. Maurice insists they take the child with them as he fears she will die alone. Later Maurice names her Nova.
As they continue in their hunt for The Colonel they come upon two soldiers who have been shot and left to die. As the soldiers die we discover that they too were unable to speak like Nova. Shortly afterwards after a horseback pursuit they encounter an unfamiliar ape.....
War For The Planet Of The Apes is a highly watchable, entertaining and emotional piece of cinema that is well executed in terms of story and building tension. The CGI has certainly improved remarkably since the first film in the series in 2011. In fact it is so good that you actually forget that you are watching CGI performance capture character renderings. Notably, because it is done so well that you are fully immersed in the story and characters, which is no mean feat especially as the human component of the film in terms of screen time is much smaller than the apes. In conclusion this is a great final film in this trilogy worthy of 5 stars.