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Blu-ray/DVD Review: War for the Planet of the Apes – “A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy”

When it was originally announced that there was going to be a new Planet of the Apes movie, I did not think much of it. Tim Burton’s version of the film had killed any desire to see a new version and there was the brilliant original film to watch.

However, then I got to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes and I was blown away. Seeing how everything started was a great way to go. The story and characters were interesting and the performance by Andy Serkis as Caesar was amazing. The digital artists who created the apes did an amazing job. The story was tense and I looked forward to the next film.

Then along came Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Rupert Wyatt wasn’t directing it, instead we had Matt Reeves behind the camera and it just built so well on what had gone before. Again, all the performances were incredible with the actors playing the apes bring life to their roles. We had Caesar vs Koba and watched as the conflict built between the surviving humans and apes. I loved how the story progressed and we got glimpses of how society had fallen.

That brings us to the end of the trilogy, which was also directed by Reeves – War for the Planet of the Apes. As with all the new Ape movies, they could have gone all out with an over the top cheesy sci-fi spectacle. Instead, we have had a thought-provoking, emotional journey following Caesar and his friends. We have seen mankind at the top of its game (including launching a flight to Mars in the Rise) and seen it crumble away as we spend time with the Apes.

This last film ends this part of the story extremely well and once again Serkis (and the digital artists) does amazing things as Caesar. However, as with the previous films, the other apes are also fantastic – Karin Konoval as Maurice the Orangutan oozes patience and wisdom, Terry Notary as Rocket is an absolute hero and Steve Zahn as Bad Ape brings humour and sadness to the role.

Likewise with the on-screen humans. Woody Harrelson as The Colonel is all strutting machismo as he does his best to save the human race and Amiah Miller as Nova the mute orphan makes the most of her silent role.

You could easily imagine having the whole film focussed on Harrelson’s character and the humans trying to survive, but that would have been the easy option and instead, we have to put things together and work out just what has been happening with the human race after the effects of the Simian Flu. Always nice when the filmmakers don’t treat the audience as if they are stupid.

Yet this is Caesar’s story and the performance from Serkis is electrifying. Consumed with thoughts of revenge on the humans, this Caesar loses some perspective and is haunted by the spectre of Koba. Yet through it all, the innate sense of empathy and compassion that the character has shown shines through. His small group of friends help balance out what he is going through giving fresh perspectives on the world in which they live.

The motion capture performance with the digital artwork and imagery is just mind-blowing. You forget that the characters you are watching are computer generated, you feel that these are real apes and it just sucks you in. You feel every emotion they are going through. Of course, there is plenty more CG in the film than you initially realise and the various features on the Blu-ray and DVD will have you constantly amazed by how they made the film.

War for the Planet of the Apes is a totally satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

War for the Planet of the Apes is out now on Digital, 4K Ultra HD™, 3D Blu-ray™, Blu-ray™ and DVD.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES Digital Special Features Include:
· Scene Comparisons (10 Scenes) – Side-by-side comparison showing performance capture above the final scene.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES DVD Special Features Include:
· “All About Caesar” Featurette
· Audio Commentary by Matt Reeves
· Concept Art Gallery

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES Blu-ray Special Features Include:
Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by Matt Reeves
o Graveyard
o Turncoats
o Barrier Wall
o “I Owe You One”
o “A Great Man”
o “Do Not Lose Hope”
o Snowfall
o The Colonel’s Speech
o Malcolm and the Dinosaurs
o “I Am Like Koba”
· Featurettes:
o “Waging War for the Planet of the Apes” – In-depth documentary on the making of WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
o “All About Caesar”
o “WETA: Pushing Boundaries”
o “Music for Apes”
o “Apes: The Meaning of it All”
o “The Apes Saga: An Homage”
· Concept Art Gallery
· Audio Commentary by Matt Reeves

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