We’ve presented one view of War for the Planet of the Apes, and asAs longtime fans of writer/critic/thinker John Kenneth Muir, we’re very happy we found this one to pass along as well:
The Films of 2017: War for the Planet of the Apes
by John Kenneth Muir
(Spoiler Warning: Details of this film are extensively described below).
It is a welcome surprise to report that the new Planet of the Apes franchise has gone three-for-three in terms of quality.
This saga — consisting of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes(2014), and War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) — has proven to be a dramatic high-point of modern, reboot cinema.
In short, all three of these science fiction films are better, merely as stand-alones, than we have any right to expect, given Hollywood norms.
But the most delightful thing about the trilogy, as proven firmly by War, is that the series also coheres beautifully as overall tale, or large-scale narrative.
War for the Planet of the Apes not only dramatizes a satisfying and emotional story about Caesar, with resonant, and powerful characters all around, it also weaves the whole saga together in a successful, artistic manner.
And then, finally — with laser-like focus — it aims that saga straight on course for the 1968 Planet of the Apes film, which is set in a future 2000 years hence.
But here’s the thing of import:
I did not hope or expect for War for the Planet of the Apes to fit so ably into or establish the continuity of the original Apes franchise.
I did not even know, at this point, that I wanted such a thing.
I suppose that I am jaded or cynical enough about Hollywood, at this point, to have given up on that particular dream of an Apes continuation.
Yet War for the Planet of the Apes succeeds in forging that link, and it does so in ways that appear unforced, effortless, and smooth.
So War for the Planet of the Apes is a remarkable standalone adventure, a brilliant apex for the reboot trilogy, and, finally, the “perfect” bridge between the 1960’s and 1970’s Apes chronology, and this 21stcentury one.
To complete and contextualize the Gospel of Caesar — which is really what the three films amount to — War for the Planet of the Apes relies on antecedents such as the story of Jesus’s crucifixion, and the film, Apocalypse Now (1979).
But what truly makes this 2017 film remarkable, I believe, is not the “origin story” of the Caesar’s apes arriving at their home (a Garden of Eden beyond the Forbidden Zone-like desert), but rather the film’s sad, haunting commentary about the way that man loses his supremacy of the planet.
We live in an age of so much shouting, don’t we?
So much blind, stupid rage, and hateful yelling. It is an age not merely of hatred, then but loud, noisyhatred.
In War for the Planet of the Apes — as though punished by God for his wicked, savage tongue — mankind irrevocably, permanently goes silent.
This is apt punishment, given the nature of the film’s humans, particularly the villain played by Woody Harrelson.
I found this “fate” to be a terrifying but appropriate justice for man; for so foolish and self-destructive species.
With this film, the war is over, and man goes into that good night without even a whimper of protest.
We did it, finally, to ourselves.
War for the Planet of the Apes is the best franchise film of the summer of 2017, and one of the best pictures I’ve seen this year. It is the origin story of a people (the future apes of the Schaffner ’68 film) and simultaneously a poignant elegy for the human race….