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War for the Planet of the Apes

Unlike the previous two movies, War is presented entirely from the perspective of the apes. We only know what they know and when they don't know what's going on, neither do we. This helps to persist the swing of sympathy from the humans in Rise to the apes in War and I found it very effective. I think we all saw this coming, but by this movie we are very much on the side of the apes and we see humans as the brutal animals. The events in this movie also bring us closer to the events and timeline as presented in the original series of Planet of the Apes movies.

My body was tensed through the entire movie, even when there wasn't action on screen. The emotion and character and heart demonstrated by the apes was incredible, and conveyed through the most amazing facial expressions I've seen on screen. It's interesting how the faces of the ape characters seemed so much more expressive than any human actor I've seen. I don't know if this is a testament of the advancement of facial motion capture technology, or the motion capture actors, in a way, over-acting to better convey those expressions, but whatever it was, it worked amazingly well.

My only criticism is that the story is very simple. Caesar wants to save his people and get revenge for what humans have done to him and his family. There is a minor B-story and that's it. We're not intertwining multiple stories of any complexity, and I think that helped to keep the focus on the characters and watching their emotional journey. It works well. I was also rather surprised by the lack of graphic violence. Not to say that there isn't violence, it's just most of it happens off-screen or when it does happen on-screen, it isn't all that graphic. I'm sure this was to maintain a marketable rating, but I found it a pleasant change from the borderline unwatchable graphic violence common in war-themed movies. I can't say you're going to have a joyous time with this movie, but I think you'll almost certainly enjoy it.

4/5