War for the Planet of the Apes, set to release in July on the 14th worldwide and looks to be nothing short of a spectacular third instalment to the modern Andy Serkis Saga.
As if the stakes of the previous two instalments couldn’t get any higher, with the fate of humanity in the balance. Yet the trailer promises to deliver an even more epic story; if the dynamic between Woody Harrelson and Serkis is anything to go by.
We know what happens, of course. As we knew with Rise of the Planet of the Apes and later Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. But that doesn’t matter. The journey into this world before our fall from grace is the masterpiece. The story of Caesar and his ever more complex position and morality is the adventure.
Matt Reeves has done a magnificent job of care-taking for this modern investment to the franchise and it would come as a real shock to be let down by this next release, given the importance he has demonstrated it has for him in interviews. The bond between Serkis and Reeves looks strong and the effort and years spent on these movies is not to be under estimated.
It looks darker too. Though the previous two films were not exactly light hearted themselves, with Rise being less gritty than Dawn. The films always portrayed a significant feeling of realism despite, at heart, ultimately being the inheritor of a Sci-Fi legacy.
This may be because of the intrinsic duality which ran through the heart of the story. Particularly Dawn, where the antagonist’s motives are not beyond reason. If anything its relatable. If we were to place ourselves in the shoes of Gary Oldman’s ‘Dreyfus’: He’s lost everything, struggling to cope in the scenario he’s been placed in, with the fate of his species in the balance. It makes sense he’s resistant to co-existance with the creatures that are now filling the power vacuum we would leave after already falling so far.
We see a similar scenario with Harrelson’s ‘Colonel’ character. Here he is after being called in to assist survivors following Koba’s War against the humans. He has his mission, its of vital importance for the survival of humanity. From the trailer his motivation is made clearer by the line: “There are times when it is necessary to abandon our humanity, to save humanity”.
That’s the genius of this saga. It isn’t a clear cut good and evil, hero v.s villain fairytale. Its an epic tale dealing with ours (and chimps) inner conflicts, motivations, loyalties and humanity.
Returning after working on Dawn, Michael Seresin’s cinematography looks fiercely meaningful. Every frame from the trailer bleeds epic, and if Dawn was anything to go by we’re in for a treat with the visuals. I remember seeing it in the cinema and being blown away by not only the dynamic of the story but by the gritty and vivid depiction of Caesars world.
The soundtrack should not be forgotten either, nor should returning composer Michael Giacchino. Who should be held in high regard with his auspicious track record and attachment to the saga. Dawn’s soundtrack is one of few soundtracks that I was compelled to buy shortly after seeing the film. Without a doubt it helped to achieve the epic standard that we have come to expect from much of what Serkis finds himself in.
I look forward to seeing Serkis performing again on the big screen. I have yet to see a film he stars in ever disappoint me. From Gollum to Ian Dury, to King Kong to Caesar, he has consistently raised the bar of motion-capture performance and proven himself without the suit too.
For now we’ll have to wait for the release to roll out, but I am confident I will enjoy War for the Planet of the Apes as much as I did its predecessors; as I am confident any fan of the franchise will enjoy it.