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War for the Planet of the Apes

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Traveling across town, Caesar stops short when he recognizes an ex-girlfriend he hasn’t seen in years: Could that be Bananas?

Synopsis: Apes, led by the chimp Caesar, must survive soldiers’ attacks while fleeing to a safe land.

All Caesar wanted to do was provide a peaceable and free existence for his ape-people. But no, warmongering humans couldn’t let them be. In spite of the many traumas in his life and the stresses of leadership, Caesar has remained full of moral and physical courage.

War for the Planet of the Apes continues Caesar’s quest to find a safe place for apekind which includes not only chimps but orangutans and gorillas. I didn’t notice any bonobos, but that is probably because they are a sexually libertine species and the filmmakers wanted to keep the movie “family friendly.”

Caesar’s inner circle is inclusive, having an orang, Maurice, and a humongous gorilla, Luca, as close advisors. The orang is gentle and wise. The gorilla is brave and he seemed pretty nice too. But I felt sorry for his horse; OOF, neigh! You weigh as much as me! Caesar’s wife is a chimp and they have a grown son (her stepson) and a preschooler, Cornelius. ( I know that I’m anthropomorphizing, but believe me, they are the ones you will relate to.)

The apes follow savior-like Caesar on a journey of biblical proportions, fleeing

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Clearly a psycho

human armies. Their chief nemesis is ‘the Colonel,’ played by Woody Harrelson. A true genocidal maniac, he vows to annihilate the apes. Woody’s character bears more than a passing resemblance to Marlon Brando’s ‘Colonel’ in Apocalypse Now — all baldness and psychosis. Any time that he’s not killing, is spent ranting and blaring 60’s rock.

Along their escape route our ape friends pick up other primates in need: a mute

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Cute

cutie girl who looks like a tween Dakota Fanning and a zoo refugee, a talking chimp who was named ‘Bad Ape’ by his

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Cuter

former keepers. He’s shy, but eager to have friends. And he looks adorable in a super cute ski vest.

While watching the movie, I thought that what the apes could really use was an emissary. Naturally, Jane Goodall sprang to mind. She is such a visionary and saint. She knows how to speak chimp (lots of videos online of her hooting) and seems really diplomatic. Example: I saw a video of her as a young woman being dragged around by her hair by a big male chimp. He was clearly being a jerk, but she said that he was just showing off and could have killed her if he chose to. Years later, when he is violently driven out of his troop, she feeds him and gives him antibiotics so that his fight-inflicted wounds won’t get infected. Clearly she can handle a lot.

She might be able to educate or shame the soldiers into letting the apes alone. But Woody Harrelson’s Colonel is incorrigible… she might have to whack him with a cricket bat or at least give him some knock out tea, so that the chimps can get away.

And certainly she and Caesar would get along famously; chatting over tea about pacifism and banana bread recipes. Alas, Jane is not there to help. But that’s okay because these apes can take care of themselves. Hail, Caesar!

–In an interview, Jane Goodall shared that she found War for the Planet of the Apes to be a very moving film and that the series could move people to think about the flaws in our own humanity, in how we relate to other living creatures.–

20th Century Fox donated money to the Jane Goodall Institute to be used at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Centre in the Republic of the Congo. Funding was used for a dormitory where chimps can seek shelter and food. Veterinary services are also available onsite. The building has been christened “Caesar’s Home.” 🙂

Movie Overview

Grade: B+

Cut to the Chase: Moving and exciting. Bravo for Andy Serkis as Caesar

Comedy Highlight:  Woody Harrelson as the ridiculous, over-the-top Colonel

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