Planet of the Apes Trilogy Delivers 'Epic' Finale

It's 'the summer's best sequel,' says one critic
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2017 9:53 AM CDT

The most recent Planet of the Apes trilogy started with a bang. It's going out the same way. Critics are raving about War for the Planet of the Apes, directed and co-written by Matt Reeves; it currently has an impressive 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what they're saying:

  • It's a "consistently intelligent, morally thoughtful and often beautiful picture" with a "coherent and credible" story that's just as impressive as the action, writes Charles Taylor at Newsweek. He adds the "special effects are used to support the story rather than supplant it." One downside: each scene featuring Woody Harrelson's colonel "feels strained, not least because this usually terrific actor has been saddled with one of the film's few caricatures."
  • But Brian Lowry says Harrelson "is at his wild-eyed best" in what he calls "the summer's best sequel," and "a stirring, soulful conclusion to a trilogy that has brilliantly evolved from its original source." This is "one of those rare instances of a movie billed as a 'climactic chapter' that actually possesses the feeling and majesty of one," he writes at CNN, also commending Andy Serkis' intense portrayal of the ape Caesar.

  • Serkis is not only "brilliant" but his appearance is "so lifelike that you forget you're looking at a visual-effects triumph," writes Chris Klimek at NPR. The film itself, wrapping up a "shockingly good series of prequels," is "suspenseful, mournful, grand," with "gravitas and commitment" that give it "a place of pride in our current apocalyptic renaissance," Klimek adds.
  • Sara Stewart feels "the imagery and the nonstop horror are a little too heavy-handed." But the flick still shines with "an epic and heartbreaking second half that broadly references the Holocaust, internment camps, refugees and even the Bible," she writes at the New York Post. "Apologies to Charlton Heston loyalists, but War for the Planet of the Apes is a good example of how today's movies sometimes beat the hell out of the oldies," she adds. "It seems wrong to even group them in the same franchise."
(More movie review stories.)

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