Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes (Blu-ray Combo Pack)

War for the Planet of the Apes was directed by Matt Reeves from a screenplay by Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves and stars Andy Serkis as Caeser, Woody Harrelson as the Colonel, Steve Zahn as Bad Ape, Judy Greer as Cornelia, Karin Konoval as Maurice, Amiah Miller as Nova, Terry Notary as Rocket, Ty Olsson as Red Donkey, Michael Adamthwaite as Luca and Gabriel Chavarria as Preacher.

For freedom, For family, For the planet. In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.

War for the Planet of the Apes picks up about about a decade later with Caeser and the apes wanting to make a move and find a safe new home that’s far away from the humans. The catch is that there’s still this feud going on between what’s left of the human race and the growing ape population. Standing in Caeser’s way is the Colonel, a sinister new threat who’s been introduced into the mix and this is a man who’s determined to save the human race and wipe out the apes – except the few that have sided with him. His warped mindset allows him to think that he’s doing the right thing by his dark actions when in fact he’s the biggest threat to everything and everyone around him.

What happens is, when tragedy strikes the apes, this puts Caeser in an extremely dark place that rivals that of Koba and it’s revenge that drives him to settle the score. We all remember how dark and deranged Koba was and this still haunts Caeser. It all comes down between Caeser and the Colonel and when the heroic ape finally has the chance to avenge the deaths of many other apes, he realizes that he ultimately finds another way to complete his mission without going down the same dark path that Koba went down. Caeser has always been looking for a safe place the apes can call home and in the end he finally finds it but it comes with sacrifice.

This talented cast of mo-cap actors are the ones who bring these characters to life and give them their own unique personalities and attitudes. This is complimented by the amazingly talented team at WETA. It doesn’t get any better than Andy Serkis who is the godfather of mo-cap acting and he delivers a powerful and emotional performance as Caeser.  Steve Zahn delivers a standout performance as Bad Ape who not only serves as the comic relief but you can tell this character has gone through so much abuse and torture and you feel for him. Karin Konoval does an amazing job as Maurice who is the conscience of the apes and I just love this character so much. There’s also Amiah Miller who is introduced as Nova, a fan favorite character from one of the classic Planet of the Apes movies. Last but not least is Woody Harrelson who plays the sinister Colonel, Caeser’s nemesis who isn’t playing with a full deck. Harrleson really shows his range as an actor with this unstable character he portrays.

Okay, there’s so much to like about this third and final chapter. The story was well thought out and executed to near perfection and it shows on screen. Matt Reeves proves once again that he’s a great storyteller with this third chapter which to me is the best of the trilogy. War for the Planet of the Apes is the biggest of the three movies as far as the sets and locations go. The locations include the forest where Caeser and the apes call home in the beginning of the movie. The movie shifts over to a snow covered area when Bad Ape is introduced and even his home is such an amazing set piece. The Colonel’s prison location is this massive structure that shows signs of no hope or escape. There’s also this scene with the apes riding their horses on the beach that reminded me of one of the classic Planet of the Apes movies and it’s beautifully shot. Speaking of that, there’s some really impressive cinematography in the movie to compliment Matt Reeves directing. As far as the action goes, there’s some extremely well choreographed stunts throughout the movie.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The discs are color coded, the Blu-ray disc is blue and the DVD disc is white – both features the movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for the high-definition disc were crisp and clear. The picture and sound quality for the standard-definition disc were really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, War for the Planet of the Apes was a very satisying way to conclude this amazing Planet of the Apes trilogy. I really liked the touching story for this finale because it’s all about family and survival – all from an ape’s point of view. We’ve watched Caeser grow in these three movies and he’s been the main focus of the entire series even though the humans kind of took center stage in the first two movies. This all changes with this third entry where the apes are front and center throughout the watch while the humans take a step back. All of the main characters here are played by mo-cap actors and it’s absolutely amazing how detailed the animation is by WETA as well as the movements and mannerisms performed by this talented cast. This movie features some emotional highs and lows as well as a little humor to lighten things up when it’s desperately needed and Matt Reeves was able to capture it all on camera. War for the Planet of the Apes releases on a Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD Combo Pack on October 24th and is definitely worth checking out. Apes together strong.

Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Run Time: 142 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.40:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 / EDA 5.1 / Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1

DVD Video: Widescreen (2.40:1)

DVD Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 / EDA 5.1 / Spanish and French Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French

Special Features: Good Stuff! There’s over 2-hours of bonus content on this release. The extras include ten deleted scenes, six behind-the-scenes featurettes, concept art gallery, audio commentary, three theatrical trailers and a digital copy of the movie.

  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by Matt Reeves 
  1. Graveyard (02:02)
  2. Turncoats (01:21)
  3. Barrier Wall (00:57)
  4. “I Owe You One” (01:05)
  5. “A Great Man” (01:38)
  6. “Do Not Lose Hope” (01:41)
  7. Snowfall (01:31)
  8. The Colonel’s Speech (03:40)
  9. Malcolm and the Dinosaurs (07:37)
  10. “I Am Like Koba” (02:12)
  • Featurettes:
  1. “Waging War for the Planet of the Apes” – In-depth documentary on the making of WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (29:38)
  2. “All About Caesar” (12:40)
  3. “WETA: Pushing Boundaries” (10:36)
  4. “Music for Apes” (06:20)
  5. “Apes: The Meaning of it All” (20:15)
  6. “The Apes Saga: An Homage” (07:48)
  • Concept Art Gallery
  • Audio Commentary by Matt Reeves
  • Trailers (06:54)
  • Digital HD Copy




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