War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes ★★★

so wonderfully performed and impeccably made that it nearly convinces you its shallow retread of much better Serious Dramas is masterful. the quiet complexity of Dawn—a film that ruminated on the many ways violence manifests itself in psychology and "civilized" order—is sorely missed here (on rewatch i kept returning to that great shakespeare quote "the evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones"), replaced instead by a weird greatest hits screenwriting beats of War and Social Issues movies... you can see the movie straining to be an Important, For Our Troubled Times picture right before your eyes, harrelson and the humans not getting to do much more than a parody of the soulful macho violent Nam movie while the apes story is mostly relegated to the tropes of every holocaust and slavery movie you've ever seen. (complete with the solidarity whipping scene.) it's a shame to watch as all of the ambition and technical beauty on display here goes wildly underserved by its moral simplicity—isn't this a war movie? why is this as thorny as your typical oscar drama? remember at the end of the previous movie when caesar sets the troubling precedent that an individual leader could decide who deserves protection from the law? where's that? idk there's only so many slow, agonizing Important, Dramatic moments about family and death you can take before they all start to blur, and unfortunately this has very little to offer beyond them. "the beginnings and the end", indeed. so unbelievably gorgeous tho.

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