The Jakarta Post
The apes are struck by a surprise attack, their fort bombarded as bodies start to fall. An orgy of explosions and bullets rampages upon the apes. Their human foes ruthlessly eliminate them, and all seems lost until the cavalry arrives, reversing the direction of the slaughter as the intelligent apes waste the soldiers. Arrows fall like rain, as the apes’ smoke bombs spread confusion and panic.
In the aftermath, the apes tend to their casualties. The few human soldiers that survive are captured, with a surprising addition of a defected ape. The intelligent yet troubled ruler of the apes of the forest proceeds to send them back to their commander in order to prove that his kind are not uncivilized murderers.
This battle scene, which does not shy away from highlighting the horrors of war, opens the third film of the classic sci-fi franchise Planet of the Apes. From the fast-paced and thrilling opening scene, the movie proceeds into a lull as Caesar (Andy Serkis), ruler of the apes, contemplates the fallout of the actions of the traitorous Koba, which caused war with humanity alongside his orangutan friend Maurice (Karin Konoval). Welcoming back his firstborn Blue Eyes (Max Lloyd-Jones) and his former rival Rocket (Terry Notary) from their ranging, the apes settle into rest. However, their peace is broken by an assault on the apes’ home, and tragedy befalls them.
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Directing Blue Eyes’ lover Lake (Sara Canning) to take care of his youngest Cornelius (Devyn Dalton), Caesar splits from his people as they seek safe haven. Accompanied by Rocket, Luca and Maurice, Caesar journeys to find the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) to end the war as they meet a human girl Nova (Amiah Miller) and the comical “Bad Ape” (Steve Zahn) along the way. In his zeal for his goal, Caesar struggles with the thirst for revenge and morality. Further twists and turns surface that provide new dimensions to the conflict for survival between humans and apes.
Fans of the movies can expect to see some characters return in this installment, including Caesar’s wife Cornelia (Judy Greer), Blue Eyes (Max Lloyd-Jones), Rocket, gorilla follower Luca (Michael Adamthwaite) and Maurice.
Serkis’ portrayal of the ape ruler Caesar gives off the impression of power and the weight of command, aided by the advanced motion capture technology utilized by the movie series. The special effects, chosen over practical ones to achieve better realism, are advanced enough to present heartfelt moments and actions from the motion-captured apes.
Some slower moments of contemplation and journey can make the movie feel like a drag, but the heart-pumping action and the dilemma of survival hastens the movie tempo sufficiently.
The movie will be out in local cinemas on July 26. (dan/kes)