War for the Planet of the Apes 1.0 stars

War for the Planet of the Apes movie poster

The 20th Century Fox fanfare (with CinemaScope addendum) is performed on jungle drums and didgeridoo. Sometimes, a film earns points even before the opening credits hit the screen; other times, a variation on a studio logo is as avant garde as it gets. War's two predecessors handily proved the gimmick works; these motion capture monkeys are light years ahead of Roddy McDowall in makeup. Director Matt Reeves earned his rightful spot on the threequel, but instead of continuing the forward movement, the filmmakers kick back and let the computer do most of the storytelling. Andy Serkis’s Caesar scowls, Woody Harrelson’s sadistic colonel never cracks the surface, and Steve Zahn’s “Bad Ape” has Ewok written all over it. With its overcast battle scenes, smattery characterizations, and softball comic relief, this feels closer in spirit to Mark Wahlberg than Chuck Heston. By the time it was over, I wanted to holler, “Fail, Caesar!” 2017.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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