Directed by: Matt Reeves
It is several years after the conclusion of 2011’s The Rise of the Planets of the Aps the ALZ-113 virus has spread across the globe and caused the rise of martial law, civil unrest and the economic collapse of every country in the world. Now it is 10 years later, and Caesar (Serkis) leads a new generation of apes in a community located in the Muir Woods, across the bay, and just north of San Francisco. An unfortunate incident between humans and the ape leads to the rise of long-thought dormant conflict between the two races. The Humans living in San Fran, are running out of power and want to re-start the hydro-electric generator at the dam to restore power to the city, only that is in n area controlled by the Apes.
As can be expected both races are wary of each other and not long on trust. However Malcolm (Clarke) manages to broker a deal that allows Cesar to trust the humans enough to access the dam and work on restoring the power. Unfortunately, there are humans and apes on both sides of the story that simply want to wipe the others out, and it is those factions that break the fragile truce. Koba (Kebbell) Cesar’s second in command breaks with tradition and Cesar’s expressed orders and not only attacks the humans but Cesar himself (Ape law is that Aps do not kill apes). Needless to say, war soon erupts with Malcom and his small group of humans attempting to work with Cesar and those loyal to him in the misguided hope to avoid conflict.
This film is more than just a retelling of the original film and TV series; it is a true updating that on many levels is closer to the spirit of Pierre Boulle’s original novel on which all of these films were based. This is the story of a modern world where every faction has their own agenda and has ample reason to hate, fear, and distrust anyone who does not agree with them. There are so many levels to this film that it quite simply bears repeated watching. Given the way the film winds up it is clear that there will be yet a third — and perhaps even more— films in this very evocative series. There are racial, genetic, patriotic, and national undertones to virtually every aspect to what is occurring onscreen, This isn’t just humans vs apes, it is “Us” vs “Them” (and it honestly doesn’t quite matter who the “Us” or “Them” actually are.
Go see this film and keep an open mind as to what is actually occurring onscreen and do not be swayed by the very cool CGI, Motion Capture, or even the prosthetic that you are seeing, this is the future of our own world played out in front of via the magic of allegorical storytelling. This is the way the world ends — with madness, hate, misunderstanding, and greed.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.