Joho the BlogI didn't like the new Planet of the Apes movie. [No spoilers.] - Joho the Blog

I didn’t like the new Planet of the Apes movie. [No spoilers.]

War for Planet of the Apes has 95% positive ratings at Rotten Tomatoes. Many of the cited reviews are effusive. For example, Charles Taylor at Newsweek calls it “a consistently intelligent, morally thoughtful and often beautiful picture.”

I’d rephrase that a bit. I think it was a dumb, predictable, boring movie with a couple of nice landscape shots. We went to see it on one of our few movie nights out because we’d enjoyed the first two in this series.

If WARPA weren’t about apes but was instead about the actual human ism‘s it intends to get us to see from the Other’s perspective — racism, colonialism, militarism — we’d view it as embarrassingly trite and shallow. Casting apes as the victims doesn’t make it any less so.

It doesn’t help that while the facial animations are incredible, the ape bodies look like pretty good animations of people wearing ape suits. Plus, I have to say that these apes’ lack of genitalia or assholes diminishes the vividness of the premise of the movie: the apes we’ve treated as an inferior species are deserving of respect and dignity. Instead, we get damn, dirty hairy aliens.

But most of all, there isn’t a cliche the movie doesn’t miss. If you’re sitting in your seat thinking that the next obvious thing to happen is X, then X will happen. Guaranteed. The only surprises are the plot holes, of which there are many.

The music is bad in itself and is used as a cudgel. They might as well have skipped the music and just put in subtitles like “Feel sorrow here.”

Full marks to Andy Serkis and the motion capture crew. As others have suggested, he deserves his Special Achievement Oscar already. Well, he deserved it for Lord of the Rings, but his work in this movie is absolutely its highlight. Steve Zahn also has a good turn as the comic relief. But poor Woody Harrelson is stuck with ridiculous lines and a clumsy narrative attempt to give his character some depth. His best moment is when he shaves his head in one of the movie’s embarrassing flags that it thinks it’s on a par with films like Apocalypse Now.

Also, this movie is no fun. It’s grim. It’s boring. It’s unfair to the humans.

That last point is not a political complaint because lord knows we deserve all the monkey feces thrown at us. It’s instead a complaint about the shallowness of the movie-making.

Overall, I’d give a 95% chance of disappointing you.

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3 Responses to “I didn’t like the new Planet of the Apes movie. [No spoilers.]”

  1. We enjoyed it — despite the absence of monkey genitalia — though I agree I’m surprised at the effusive praise.

    What I liked: there was a larger issue to think about: the meaning of sacrifice. The acting was good, and the CG faces were good.

    I was most annoyed by the plot holes. Why would a human girl take so quickly to the apes who just killed her dad? That soldier was an idiot for going in the cage. And the attack on the compound was one of the stupidest things ever.

  2. I’ll try to watch it first so that I can get some good impression to the movie. I enjoy the first one to be honest .

  3. I’m of an age to remember seeing the first Planet of the Apes film in the cinema and, like everyone else, being blown away by its shock ending. It made it one of the best sci fi movies of the period, if not of all time. The follow up movies, predictably, were a disappointment – a pressure on Hollywood to repeat its former success, and failing miserably, in originality at least. Unfortunately I feel somewhat the same about the recent resurrection of the franchise, where all the praise seems to be heaped more on the amazing effects rather than gripping story lines which, while engrossing, seem mawkishly sentimental at times and (as you’ve said) trite and shallow too. The concept is a good one though, and maybe, when the money spinner raises its hairy head for yet another reprise, the writers will be brave enough to offer up a more ‘grown-up’ approach, unaffected by PC constraints, or concerns of bombing at the box office. Hopefully I’ll still be around to enjoy it.

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