(out of 5)
We are moving ever closer to getting Charlton Heston naked in the desert, with a planet whose dwindling human population has broken out into all-out war with the genetically developing primates who are multiplying in great numbers. Caesar (Andy Serkis) is now the folk-hero leader of an army, still hoping to create a world in which ape and human co-exist peacefully until he suffers a personal tragedy at the hands of a hellbent Colonel Kurtz-like general (an uncompromising Woody Harrelson). Caesar and friends travel to the military compound where Harrelson is using apes as slave labour, but before our protagonist can wreak revenge upon his nemesis, they all end up involved in something much bigger and more significant for the future. The group also pick up two new friends, a young human girl suffering a strange virus that is robbing humans of their speech, and a quirky chimpanzee (voiced perfectly by Steve Zahn) who is traumatized by his years living in a zoo. Dark, brooding and highly involving, this magnificent film maintains the quality of its two predecessors, a worthy effort in this wonderful series and never too heavy despite the places that the plot goes. Scenes between Caesar and Harrelson are remarkably good, while the visual effects continue to be of such high caliber mainly because they rarely call attention to themselves: this series is marvelous for what a great job it does of leaving a much deeper impression of story and character than aesthetic wizardry, and this third entry is no slouch.
Directed by Matt Reeves
Cinematography by Michael Seresin
Music by Michael Giacchino
Production Design by James Chinlund
Costume Design by Melissa Bruning
Academy Awards: 2017