Remakes and reboots generally have a negative reputation among fans and critics, but one consistent exception to the rule has been the Planet of the Apes prequel series. Beginning with Rise of the Planet of the Apes and followed by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the new Apes movies have been praised by critics and audiences alike. The third and possibly final Apes prequel was expected to build on the franchise's previous developments and continue this positive trend, but War for the Planet of the Apes seems to have gone one step further, exceeding all expectations with universal acclaim.
War for the Planet of the Apes will hit theaters in a few weeks, and if the reviews are anything to go by, audiences are in for one hell of a grand finale. Critics were treated to an advanced screening of War for the Planet of the Apes, and the general consensus was universally positive. Here's what those who were lucky enough to see the film had to say.
Those Damn, Dirty, Critically-Adored Apes!
Praise was given to the third movie's visuals, acting, story and themes that reminded some of the thought-provoking war movie, Apocalypse Now - a fitting comparison since Colonel McCullough (Woddy Harrelson) has drawn a lot of comparisons to Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando) from the aforementioned Vietnam War film.
Check out some glowing descriptions from critics below.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
The continuingly absorbing 'Apes' franchise delivers its stories with conviction and intensity; it is utterly confident in its own created world, and in the plausibility of its ape characters, who are presented quite unself-consciously and persuasively... 'War for the Planet of the Apes' has its own sense of purpose... It’s an engrossing, forthright adventure.
Bilge Ebiri, The Village Voice
But there’s something more here: Reeves likes his stuff dark — visually, thematically, narratively — and now he’s plunged us headlong into the gloom... The picture pulls us as viewers into an atmosphere so oppressive that it leaves no room for morality; we’re too caught up in the characters’ struggle for survival to worry about anything else. To put it another way: This movie is a dangerous place to be.
Pete Hammond, Deadline
Under [Matt Reeves’] superb guidance, the film [War] has much to say about our times including politics, race, empathy for others and so much more... It might well be the movie of the summer, and maybe the year... Studio movies of this scale don’t get much better than this.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
The moral issues, and the arguable legitimacy of everyone's assorted causes, keep piling up, and one of the great merits of the screenplay... is that it takes all the characters' views, grievances and aspirations seriously; although investment in Caesar's and the apes' cause is assumed and tacitly encouraged, the film doesn't insist that they are right and everyone else is intrinsically evil.
Monkey Business Is The Best Kind Of Business
Some critics even went as far as declaring War for the Planet of the Apes as the best entry of the already impressive Apes reboot trilogy, thus describing the end of Caesar's journey from self-aware simian to ape-kind's messianic savior as one of this year's best blockbuster offerings after Logan and Wonder Woman.
James Dyler, Empire Online
The conflict here is one of morality, identity and the boundaries of humanity; all the guns and napalm, while present, are secondary to War’s purpose. A misnomer, certainly, but 'Existential Ruminations Of The Planet Of The Apes' wouldn’t sell nearly as much popcorn.. And, thanks to an evocative story and the most realistic anthropoids you’ll find outside a zoo, this third Apes is the strongest yet.
Matt Goldberg, Collider
'War' raises interesting questions about the rules of civilization, how one society falls while another rises, and how one must weigh the responsibility of leadership against personal demons. The 'Planet of the Apes' franchise remains one of the great film series of all-time, and 'War for the Planet of the Apes' is among its best entries.
Alisha Grauso, Movie Pilot
How privileged we are to exist in the world at the same time as Andy Serkis... He deserves that long-withheld acting Oscar nomination. 'War for the Planet of the Apes' is already one of the summer's best and I truly believe that over time, the trio of movies will continue to hold up as one of the most solid trilogies of all time. That is entirely because of what Serkis has brought to the table, and it's well past time he's recognized for it.
Chris Stuckmann, Chris Stuckmann Movie Reviews
...I do feel that 'War for the Planet of the Apes' joins movies like 'Lord of the Rings: Return of the King' or 'The Bourne Ultimatum' as being the best in the trilogy. That's so rare, and this movie floored me. I think it's a masterpiece.
The new Apes movies have been getting better with each passing entry, and War for the Planet of the Apes won't be breaking this tradition any time soon. In a time where some serious moviegoers have been wondering where all the smart blockbusters of yesteryear have been hiding, War for the Planet of the Apes proves that big summer movies are not as dumb as naysayers claim.
It's rare that a new, big-budgeted movie would be described as "thought-provoking," "bleak" or just outright "depressing," but director Matt Reeves' conclusion to the new Apes trilogy is all of these and so much more. Currently sitting at an impressive score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, it seems that War for the Planet of the Apes is the smart yet entertaining summer blockbuster tentpole that audiences deserve.