Film: War for the Planet of the Apes – (2.5/4)

I’m a huge fan of this trilogy. This new apes trilogy is a prime example of how to re-imagine a nostalgic franchise.

With modernized poignancy, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” to me, was a huge success. The amount of emotional depth brought to a franchise film like that was unprecedented. So naturally I was more than hyped to witness the conclusion.

I didn’t leave “War for the Planet of the Apes” disappointed. Lightning doesn’t always strike in the same place twice, and I understood coming in that it would be a difficult task for Reeves and his crew.

I’ll begin by complimenting Reeves on his effort. Like Edgar Wright, Matt Reeves has proven time and again that he is one of Hollywood’s craftsmen. There is strong, motivated direction throughout this film. From shot selection, to an ensemble of great performances (another mind-boggling performance by Serkis), Reeves has proven to be filmmaking-savvy.

The one blip in his direction – the editing. I chalk this up to him even though I do not know the kind of director-editor relationship they had in the edit room. With great acting, cinematography I yeared for a slower pace. The editing here was conventional at best.

An attempt at an example without spoiling: When Harrelson’s character reaches his conclusion, we see a reaction shot of Caesar starring at him in a room. I wish we held on this a bit longer, to give the weight of what had just happened more time to resonate.

The action feels so scattered and quick that it fails to juxtapose with the themes of war and loss. You could argue this was the case with “Dawn,” particularly in the third act, but I feel the ratio allowed for more digestion of the thematic material.

I don’t feel, at all, that this film is a failure. And, I reiterate, I am not disappointed. This is a welcome conclusion to a great trilogy. However, it is par for the course where they only met the minimum requirements.

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