Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA/Canada/New Zealand, 2017. Chernin Entertainment, River Road Entertainment, TSG Entertainment. Screenplay by Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves, based on characters created by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and the novel La Planete des Singes by Pierre Boulle. Cinematography by Michael Seresin. Produced by Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver. Music by Michael Giacchino. Production Design by James Chinlund. Costume Design by Melissa Bruning. Film Editing by William Hoy, Stan Salfas. Academy Awards 2017. Washington Film Critics Awards 2017.
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.