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War For The Planet of the Apes Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by on Nov 02, 2017
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews the Blu-ray for War For The Planet of the Apes, a wonderfully touching movie about war, love, loss and emotional upheaval with a band of talking apes at its center.

By: Lynn Barker

War For The Planet of the Apes is the third chapter of the newer “Apes” movie franchise and it features intelligent ape Caesar (Andy Serkis) who was created by human science. He and his group want to live freely in a big forest without human conflict but a determined  Special Forces Colonel (Woody Harrelson) thinks war is the only answer. Man can only survive if all apes are dead. Which species will survive?

The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) examines his ape prisonersThe Colonel (Woody Harrelson) examines his ape prisoners

Forest Stronghold

We open five years after the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Caesar's group is still at war with the human military, a war started by Koba, a renegade ape. Hiding in the woods, Caesar has offered the humans peace if they will just leave his tribe alone. White Ape Winter is frightened that the human Colonel will kill him so, in return for safety, he reveals where Caesar’s secret camp is. Planning to move the tribe to a new home across a desert, Caesar is shattered when the Colonel and his men pull a sneak attack that destroys his family, killing his wife and older son Blue Eyes.  

The Colonel talks to captured CaesarThe Colonel talks to captured Caesar

Bent on Revenge

Caesar’s last son Cornelius is left in the care of Lake, the mate of his deceased son while Caesar sends the tribe out toward their new home and leaves to stalk and kill the Colonel. Maurice (Karin Konoval), the huge baboon-like ape, Luca, a loyal gorilla and ape Rocket insist on going with him. From traitor Winter they learn that the Colonel is near “the border”. After being forced to kill a human man in an empty village, the group finds a young mute human whom they later name Nova (Amiah Miller) and Maurice takes her along since she’ll die without help.

Maurice protects young NovaMaurice protects young Nova

Abandoned Bad Ape

Caesar and friends meet a half mad but friendly ape named Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) whom they find living alone in an abandoned ski lodge after all his zoo friends died. He joins the group. On the road, they come upon three human soldiers who have been shot, one, still barely alive, can’t speak. This is a sign of the virus spreading. Bad Ape leads the group to the border where the Colonel and men are headquartered in a former weapons depot turned Quarantine zone when the “simian virus” began to spread among humans.

Caesar and friends discover Bad Ape's lairCaesar and friends discover Bad Ape's lair

The Tribe is in Prison

Caesar is emotionally destroyed to see that the whole tribe has been captured by the Colonel and, with no food or water, are forced to build a giant wall. Who is the Colonel trying to keep out? When Caesar is captured, he’s tortured but learns that the simian flu evolved and is now making human victims mute and causing most to regress back to a childlike, primal mental state, much like…animals. The Colonel has been shooting these victims, even his own soldiers and his son. Other humans think the virus can be cured. Now other more “sane” military are coming to stop his reign of terror, thus the need for the wall.

Caesar leading his group to find the ColonelCaesar leading his group to find the Colonel

Escape to the Promised Land?

Nova and Rocket bring captive Caesar water and food and cause a diversion. The almost dead Caesar gets the will to live again and an escape is planned through an underground tunnel Bad Ape has discovered. As the other army after the Colonel gets closer, will Caesar still kill the Colonel? Will the captured ape tribe escape? Will more apes die? Will Caesar be reunited with tiny son Cornelius? Will they ever reach the new homeland across the desert?

Difficult times shooting in Canadian winterDifficult times shooting in Canadian winter

Special Extra Features

There are over two hours’ worth of extras on the Blu-ray disc and they are all fascinating and very well worth watching.

  • Deleted Scenes – there are at least ten of these and almost all show the actors playing apes in their motion capture suits acting before the ape visuals are laid on later by the CGI experts at WETA effects. It is amazing to see just how good all the ape actors, especially the talented Andy Serkis as Caesar are! You also get a couple of scenes featuring Woody Harrelson as the Colonel that flesh out his strange character and are really worth watching. I suggest turning on the director commentary over these scenes. Really worth checking out!
  • Waging War for the Planet of the Apes is the Making-Of featurette and it covers development of the apes characters through the last three movies as well as story development. Changes in Caesar and the new Colonel character are discussed  Filmmakers talk about working on set in the freezing Canadian winter and we see that Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson became buddies, playing ping pong between scenes. Steve Zahn talks about developing his Bad Ape character and we see a lot of his work on set. There was an Ape School in which the ape actors learned movement and speech. Costumes, weaponry, concept art, production design and set decoration are shown. A really nice, complete featurette.

Andy Serkis in motion capture suit and final result as CaesarAndy Serkis in motion capture suit and final result as Caesar
  • All About Caesar features Andy Serkis talking about developing the character through three films. He studied great apes and thought of Caesar as human, undergoing all the joy and sadness we all go through. Caesar’s speech and mannerisms changed greatly through the three films. In my opinion, and I’m not alone, I think Andy deserves an Oscar for his amazing portrayal of the Caesar character, especially in this film.
  • WETA: Pushing Boundaries covers the New Zealand-based special effects company’s ground-breaking development of the motion capture apes technology over three films. They also create a very life-like avalanche for this movie. Just fascinating!
  • Music for Apes centers on composer Michael Giacchino’s beautiful score for the movie and especially upon an elderly but still feisty percussionist who has provided his skills for ALL of the apes films all the way from the Charlton Heston Planet of the Apes in 1968 to this film. Really cool!
  • In Apes: The Meaning of It All and The Apes Saga: An Homage we concentrate on the early series of “Apes” films from the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the first originally based upon a novel by Pierre Boulle. Many of the filmmakers and actors in this film were big fans of the original franchise. These new films pay homage and tribute to many things from the originals like names, pieces of dialogue, objects etc. Very cool extras especially for “Apes” fans. I really liked it.
  • Audio Commentary by Director Matt Reeves is full of behind-the-scenes and story tidbits.
  • Concept Art is especially beautiful

Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) meets CaesarBad Ape (Steve Zahn) meets Caesar

Wrapping Up

War For The Planet of the Apes is a war movie, yes, but like all great ones, it’s a touching, heartfelt and very well-acted epic story of courage, bravery and love. Actor Andy Serkis, who does all his portrayal of lead ape Caesar in a motion capture suit, deserves an Oscar. All actors in the film “ape” or human do beautiful work.

Apes use old and new weaponry in the warApes use old and new weaponry in the war

The movie contains a few laughs, mostly provided by the Bad Ape character but the film had me crying more than once. This Blu-ray/DVD/Digital home entertainment package is full of wonderfully produced extras that take you into the world of the film as the actors, freezing in the winter outside in skimpy, thin motion capture suits, do some of the best work ever. Extras on the great music and those that pay homage and connect this film to the originals all the way back to 1968 are fascinating.

Maurice, Bad Ape and Rocket plan to rescue CaesarMaurice, Bad Ape and Rocket plan to rescue Caesar

The movie is beautifully mastered in high def. It looks and sounds wonderful. For a really touching yet action-packed film and a great home entertainment package we can go five stars.

War For The Planet of the Apes Blu-ray Rating: 5

War For The Planet of the Apes Blu-rayWar For The Planet of the Apes Blu-ray

You can buy War for the Planet of the Apes in stores now!  


Have Your Say

Do you enjoy really amazing motion capture characters and have you watched any of the many “Apes” films old and new?  Comment below.