KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES – “An exciting and surprisingly soulful fresh start for the franchise”




Directed by: Wes Ball (Maze Runner – 2014)


• Owen Teague as Noa
• Freya Allan as Mae / Nova
• Kevin Durand as Proximus Caesar
• Peter Macon as Raka
William H. Macy as Trevathan
• Travis Jeffery as Anaya
• Lydia Peckham as Soona
• Neil Sandilands as Koro


Many years after the reign of Caesar, a young ape goes on a journey that will lead him to question everything he's been taught about the past and make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike.


Wes Ball’s Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is an exciting and surprisingly soulful fresh start for the franchise. And for a movie series that is 10 films deep, it’s rather impressive to break new ground. Of course, this isn’t a reboot – nor a full-on sequel, but rather a combination of both (a “requel”). You see, while the film takes on a new narrative set some 100 years in the future, it constantly references the character Caesar from the previous trilogy, framing him as a spiritual God of sorts (“the first ape”). This leads to a really interesting plot point as we see Caesar’s legacy interpreted in two very different ways. It’s a neat allegory, one that mirrors our world’s religious beliefs greatly. The film also benefits from some wonderful new characters. The story’s hero, Noa, is incredibly easy to root for, as his ripening journey is right up there with the best of them. And while the movie’s villain, Proximus, makes for a fun watch (giving off major Mad: Max Immortan Joe vibes), it’s Raka who shines the most. The older orangutang fills Noa in on Caesar's true teachings and steals our hearts in the process. What can I say, Raka’s got charm for days. Freya Allan, as the human character Mae, also deserves credit for holding her own against the onslaught of special effects. By the way, those effects remain spectacular. Is it possible the motion capture work has improved over the last film’s award-winning renditions? I’d wager yes! There’s not only a seamlessness to the ape designs, but a real soul to them. You truly feel their pain, sorrow, and joys when looking into their eyes. We’ve come a long way from the “dead eyes” of Polar Express folks! So, if you were one of the people worried that this continuation would be a downgrade (in terms of story and visual splendor), then fear not. In fact, this continuation is likely to exceeded expectations. Plus, it lines up a sturdy foundation for the inevitable sequels (of course they were thinking about the sequels). And while it admittedly does take a bit to find its footing at the start, you don’t have to wait long for the action to kick things into high gear. Yep, with a genuinely interesting and introspective story at play, not to mention plenty of thrills, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes shows that the franchise is in good hands – or should I say paws?




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