War for the Planet of the Apes

You will be bored by believing a monkey can ride a horse!

Writing to the end, the film feels afraid to start
Reported on 25th of September, 2017

There is really only one scene in Planet of the Apes: You Did It Scott! You Really Will See Anything! and that is the avalanche at the end. Don’t get me wrong, I survived many other scenes, and the fact that the only VO screening was at 10pm. But this is the only one that matters for the film. Not story-wise, because no such thing in this universe. In fact, now I’m going to have to explain all the things that don’t happen just to explain why the avalanche matters. For things not happening.

War for the Planet of the Apes

3 August 2017 @ The Gaumont Rennes

-$3.00 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


After an impenetrable battle sequence which doesn’t affect the story, and some female apes wearing hair decorations so we know that apes aren’t gay, there are some bad humans who enslave apes to do stuff…that doesn’t affect the outcome of the story. The Apes, extremely eventually, escape as the good humans, but who knows, come to kill the bad humans. All of them, except the apes, are then killed by a giant avalanche, the kind you get when you build an army base at the bottom of a mountain.

You’re telling the story of the end of humanity from the creatures that ended it. As a hater of humanity, I’m all for that. You are too, at least for that lovely hour and a half. In a dark theater. Full of humanity.

It’s possible the filmmakers thought this would be exciting. It’s possible they had the idea of the visual of the apes surviving the avalanche by crawling to the top of the trees. But I think what really sold it for them was that no one has to do anything.

See, you’re writing to the end here. Not unlike the interminable Episodes, but with less visual sense and only one-tenth the meme potential, you’re telling the story of the end of humanity from the creatures that ended it. As a hater of humanity, I’m all for that. You are too, at least for that lovely hour and a half. In a dark theater. Full of humanity.

I lost my beloved Harry Potter 3D glasses, but I did get to try the 2D ones These are special glasses that remove one of the channels, making the experience of watching 3D vaguely tolerable. Then, there was the film itself.

Our filmmakers don’t understand what kind of movie they’re making (disaster = pleasure over punishment of sin). They instead believe that we have to love our apes, who can never do anything bad. It’s a bit of a quandary. I want to enslave humanity, but I don’t want to do anything, ya know, bad or whatever.

Culpability is something that seems to concern Hollywood a lot, or maybe just the ones who are guilty of cinematic crimes like this. In the first modern ape film (the one with Mr. James Franco. What else do you remember?), you have a good old disease solving that ol’ accountability problem. In the second, bad ape means good ape is good when he does bad things (not unlike Man of Steel, which I now see is connected to everything).

In the last, apparently seeking an Oscar nomination, and hence my bothering to write this, you have an avalanche. The apes can’t even be bothered to kill people. It feels either like a dangerous excuse for, or an accidentally accurate indictment of, fascism in general.

And certainly it would be nice to read more into the film than its banality, but like Fr. Hannah Arndt, banality is more than enough. The featureless characters who never do anything wrong is the product of people afraid to do something hard: make us love someone that maybe we shouldn’t and maybe we are, and live vicariously with that feeling. It’s what makes going to films the escape that it is.

If we combine the crappy filmmaking and the reason for the crappy filmmaking, it’s really just a bunch of people who don’t want to feel bad about anything they do. God help us if humans ever find themselves in charge of governance. What? This fascist slave state? It just happened! I was walking down the street, et voilà, you worship me as god in human form. How did we get here? I dunno, an avalanche or something. Let’s not think about it too much.

The Take

I appreciate that the effects are good, and you appreciate that I’m the great neutral reviewer for appreciating them.
Mr. Steve Zahn really elevates what little material he is given.
Total Profits
Mr. Serkis, who seems to be coasting off the fact that he invented CGI acting, which he kind of did, less so than Mr. Zahn
Writing to the end, with the girl who is mute (by disease, naturally) and having none of the characters do anything, or generally know what’s going on at all, the film feels afraid to start.
Total Losses


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