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“War for the Planet of the Apes” — Clichéd Snorefest

Jar Jar Ape.

WARNING: SPOILERS WITHIN FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO – MERCIFULLY – HAVEN’T SEEN THIS MOVIE YET.

Yes, I know I’ll probably be in the minority here, but dammit! War for the Planet of the Apes was a clichéd stinkeroo!

The first half was great, but when we got to the Jar Jar Binks character about halfway through (glaring at Lucas) and the sweet little mute girl character (I’m looking at you, Cameron!), the stickiness started to cloy.

And the last 4 & 1/2 hours of the film in the Stalag 17 camp, in which each digital ape is allowed a “big moment,” just became too smarmy to stomach. And how did the little girl pick up sign language so fast? And who the hell were all the new (ape) characters that Reeves automatically assumed we knew? And why did the female apes need beaded braids and small breasts to confirm their gender?

Grimacing monkey popsicle.

 

Tip to the director — don’t give one of your characters (Woody Harrelson’s General) an endless 20-minute monologue to describe the entire plot while Serkis’ Caesar reacts with varying CGI expressions. It’s a movie, for God’s sake. Fucking show us the story!

Even the CGI became dodgy. As I got bored, I started reflecting on the fact that I was watching a computer program, with all the yowling soullessness that the term implies.

Finally, the endless climax during which Reeves demands that we empty our tear ducts over and over and over and over and over again was just too much of a Spielbergian emotion-grab, something I became immune to a long, long time ago.

So disappointing, because Reeves had handled the emotion of this realm so delicately in the first two installments without reverting to the old “SYMBOLISM! Here’s Caesar as the crucified Jesus! And what do you know? The General is Hitler! LOOK! The mute girl is Nova, which ties it to the first film! BANG BANG!

And when the apes finally make it to their promised land, like Moses leading his people. it made me long to be watching the bunnies in Watership Down instead.

And all this jabbering about Serkis deserving an Oscar nomination — oh, please! If it was just him in human form glaring at the camera for 2 & 1/2 hours, this performance would’ve been considered “one note.” 

 

This review first appeared on the Weird Movie Village website.

Kurt Gardner

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