In “War For The Planet Of The Apes,” the third and climactic chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster trilogy, director Matt Reeves and an all-star cast unleash the rapidly evolving simians into a world boiling over with divisions and rage as the ape vs. human battle for control of the world careens towards the ultimate winner-takes-all decision.
At the core of “War for The Planet of the Apes” is the story not only of the coming of the decisive battle between the rapidly rising apes and desperately declining humans but also of a dark night of the soul for the apes’ noble leader, Caesar. He now faces his most perilous, legend-making moment, and an urgent moral dilemma, as he begins to mistrust his ape principles and any hope for peace with a human species that has wounded him in the deepest of ways.
As the terror of war spreads to the heart of his own family, this is a Caesar at war with humans, but also with himself, one whose burning anger at the suffering he has seen must give way to a new vision if he is to take his kind forward and out of chaos.
It all comes to life driven by the most complex and intense performance by Andy Serkis yet as the majestic Caesar, and groundbreaking visual effects from Weta Digital. Also returning to the series is Karin Konoval as Caesar’s trusted advisor, Maurice, Terry Notary as Caesar’s right-hand man, Rocket, as well as Judy Greer as Caesar’s wife Cornelia and Toby Kebbell as Koba. Unforgettable new characters include two-time Oscar® nominee Woody Harrelson as the Colonel, the brash human soldier who believes only an apocalyptic war can salvage the last vestiges of humankind; Steve Zahn as Bad Ape, a lonely chimp who brings heart and humor to the apes in their darkest hour; Amiah Miller as Nova, the human child who becomes an unexpected link between the apes and humanity; Aleks Paunovic as Winter, the stunning but anxious white gorilla; Michael Adamthwaite as Caesar’s gorilla lieutenant, Luca, who forges a bond with Nova; and Ty Olsson as Rex, a turncoat gorilla who works for the Colonel as his “donkey.”
War finds Caesar, sharp, measured and principled as he is, at a loss for moral footing. He hungers for a personal reckoning, yet knows the other apes still look to him as their last chance to find a life of safety and freedom. As Serkis approached the role, he took it as a personal challenge to bring a visceral, perhaps one might even say “human” truth to a character who is a mysterious other, and yet who simultaneously embodies predicaments to which human audiences can deeply relate, no matter Caesar’s physical form.
Though the Colonel is the brutal enemy of the apes, Harrelson notes that as in any war, how you see him all depends on which side you are on. For some humans witnessing the destruction of their civilization, the Colonel is the personification of hope.
Explains Harrelson, “You could easily look at the Colonel as a bad guy in the film, but I look at him as a guy who feels called upon to do something great and essential in this darkest time that humans have found themselves in.”
“War for the Planet of the Apes” is now showing in cinemas from 20th Century Fox distributed by Warner Bros.