This is the one movie that I wanted to watch more than Spiderman: Homecoming. I was fully invested in the first two movies: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I am a big fan of Caesar and I get really emotional when it comes to him. Actually, I get really emotional when it comes to animal movies.
Spoilers! Really, really bad spoilers.
The movie starts with a military team called Alpha Omega stalking a known ape “base”. With the help of apes called “Donkeys” – those who used to be under the vengeful chimp Koba, they were able to successfully launch an attack on the “base”, effectively killing a bunch of apes who were mulling around inside the ditch. One of the apes successfully escapes as the battle rages on an calls for back up. Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his men arrive and turn the battle around. They killed the Alpha Omega men and was able to capture a few of them including one gorilla, named Red, who was serving them. Caesar told them that he doesn’t want to fight with them and just wants to live peacefully but would do anything to protect his family and the rest of the apes. Caesar also finds out that the Alpha Omega troops are under the command of one man called the Colonel (Woody Harrelson). Caesar lets the men go as a sign of mercy and civility but keeps the gorilla. As they were watching the men leave on horseback, Winter, an albino gorilla tasked with imprisoning the traitor gorilla, informs Caesar that he was attacked and Red escaped.
Back at their dwelling-place, the apes take care of their dead and Blue Eyes (Caesar’s son) and Rocket arrive from their journey, telling Caesar that they discovered a place far away that will keep them safe from the humans. Caesar holds a council and they decide that they can no longer afford losing more apes and leave the next day. However, that same night, Colonel’s men infiltrate the apes’ home and the Colonel himself kills Blue Eyes and Cornelia (Caesar’s wife), mistaking Blue Eyes for Caesar. Colonel escapes after the deed and Caesar makes up his mind that they need to leave immediately.
As the apes were preparing for the journey, Caesar leaves his younger son, Cornelius (who survived the Colonel’s attack) with Lake, Blue Eyes’ fiancee. Caesar has decided to go after the Colonel and take his revenge for killing his family. Caesar is followed and joined by Maurice, Luca and Rocket. Along the way, they discover an Alpha Omega deserter whom they killed after the man almost pulls a gun on them. They find the man’s young daughter who seemingly could not talk and Maurice takes a liking to her. He persuades Caesar that they cannot leave her alone or she will die.
They then come upon an Alpha Omega camp and discover Winter working there as a Donkey. Caesar finds out that Winter was promised survival by Red if he sided with the Colonel and told of Caesar’s whereabouts. Caesar accidentally kills Winter, but not before the latter divulging that the Colonel has left the camp to go to the “border”. Caesar and his group try to find where this “border” is and they met another talking chimpanzee called Bad Ape. Bad Ape knows what and where the border is – which is an old weapons depot that the Alpha Omega now uses as headquarters – but tries to dissuade Caesar from going there, saying that that’s where the bad humans are. After learning that they both shared a death of a son, Bad Ape agrees to take Caesar to the Alpha Omega headquarters.
While scouting the camp, Luca dies after saving Caesar from an Alpha Omega soldier. Caesar then, out of anger, storms the camp alone but is captured by Red. Upon entering the camp, Caesar finds his family and ape clan imprisoned inside. They are being forced to work as slaves to build a wall for the Colonel. Caesar was put to work but stands up against the Colonel for one of the orangutans so Caesar was given a talking-to. Caesar finds out that the Colonel:
- Is going to be attacked by the actual military and the wall serves as a “defense” against them.
- Killed his own son who got infected by the Simian Flu virus.
- Is now killing all of those infected by the virus in order to save mankind.
After Caesar attacks the Colonel, he is tortured and starved and was near death. Nova, the girl whom Maurice saves, sees Caesar and goes to him, giving him water and food and the doll that she always carried with her. Meanwhile, Rocket gets himself caught to save Nova and Maurice and Bad Ape makes plans to spring all the apes out of the camp before the war starts. With renewed hope, the apes were able to escape by using a tunnel that Maurice and Bad Ape dug under the camp. During their escape, the Colonel’s enemies from outside the wall (lol) started attacking, creating the perfect diversion to allow the apes to run for higher ground.
Caesar takes this moment to go find the Colonel – who wasn’t responding to all the attacks and to the constant banging of his soldiers from outside his barracks – and to exact revenge. Caesar finds him in his room, infected with the Simian Flu virus, and puts a gun against the Colonel’s head. The Colonel urges Caesar to kill him, before the virus incapacitates him. Caesar fails to kill the Colonel because he doesn’t want to end up like Koba and just puts the gun beside the Colonel. Caesar watches as the Colonel takes the gun and shoots himself dead.
On his way out, Caesar attempts to blow up the camp by detonating some grenades on leaking gas. Red, the traitor gorilla, watches as the soldiers see the escaping apes and shoots them down while defending themselves from the attacking enemy. Caesar gets shot down by one of the soldiers he set free at the start of the movie and since Caesar showed him mercy, he was having a hard time to pull the trigger for the finishing blow. Red, in between seeing his fellow apes dying and Caesar staggering, decides to blow up the soldier to save Caesar and redeem himself. Red is killed by a soldier as Caesar tosses the grenade onto the gas, causing an explosion and effectively killing the Alpha Omega soldiers.
The explosion causes a chain-reaction and the whole camp blows up, making the attacking army believe that they won the day. Some of the rival soldiers see Caesar and a ripple of “Ape” fell through the army until an avalanche is triggered, killing the attacking army as well. Caesar and his clan, along with Nova, were able to save themselves by climbing up the trees and waiting for the avalanche to pass. All of them then make the journey to the land that Blue Eyes and Rocket first found and saw a place that they can call home.
Unfortunately, CAESAR DIES from the wound that the soldier inflicted on him. Only Maurice was beside him, as they watched all the apes celebrate their victory.
So… CAN ANYONE BELIEVE THAT THIS IS WHERE CAESAR DIES??? I was devastated and utterly heart-broken at that last scene. I actually cried. I was that affected. Though I have to admit that it was a good ending to the trilogy. The apes found a new home and Caesar was able to see them through it. And even though he was ultimately leaving his younger son, Cornelius, he knows that he won’t be alone as he has Lake, Maurice, Bad Ape and even Nova. IT’S STILL SO SAD THOUGH.
Moving on, I liked what they did to the opening sequence – there were a series of texts summarizing what has been happening since the first movie. They made use of the different titles to emphasize exactly which movie they were referring to: Rise, Dawn and War. That was a good nod to the trilogy.
I also liked Bad Ape’s character. I know that War for the Planet of the Apes is a bit on the heavy side – lots of deaths, genocide, culling, displacement, revenge, treason… So when they added a comical character, it was a bit of a relief. People watching with us at the cinema were laughing at every scene that featured Bad Ape. I was laughing out loud at his every scene. Just the fact that he introduced himself as “Bad Ape” is already funny: he thought that that was his name since the people at the zoo (where he used to live) called him that all the time. I know that Andy Serkis, who plays Caesar, did Smeagol/Gollum, but Bad Ape reminds me of Smeagol a lot.
The pacing of the movie is good, the dialogues were good, Caesar dying makes you want to kill the Colonel yourself, Woody Harrelson as the Colonel made you want to punch him in the throat… Yeah, I’m a big fan of the movie.
Now that the trilogy is over, I can now get a copy of the movies in blu-ray. Hopefully they add these in that Caesar-bust set that I’ve been wanting to buy since I saw it for sale at the Weta Cave. And hopefully, it goes on sale.