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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
Year : 2024
Country : United-States

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DokBrowne  [ 8.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Majestic continuation of "Of the Apes" fiction old and new, using elements of the original film series, the 2010s trilogy of course, and even the one-season 1974 TV series that I just recently saw the first few episodes of. You can probably map the previous two films' prosaic structure onto this again - like "Dawn" and "War", here's another one set in post-apocalypse woodlands where small survivor groups have to face off against a single opponent (flanked by an army) who's gone mad with power, prejudice and hatred, but unlike those swell yet limited entries in the franchise, "Kingdom" builds out the story by couching it in a series of big and bigger reveals, introducing all-new archetypal characters who are even more mesmerizingly expressive thanks to ever-improving technology, filming the ape communities and forestry with "Avatar"-level breadth and beauty, and then designing and shooting a beach compound with this striking (intentional?) sunlit bleached haze that uncannily evokes what these movies looked like in the '70s.

Raka makes a memorable new mentor figure, Proximus rips harder than any other ape villain in the whole franchise besides Tim Roth and doesn't even need to join the film until well beyond the hour mark to tower over the show, eagles get to be more than just symbolic heroes for once, it's 145 minutes long and gets off to a slow start but amasses intrigue and power as it rolls on until climaxing with some breathtaking scope and action beats...all in all it just feels like it's accomplishing more with the IP than every other film before it, not counting the original 1968 classic. And you know the long-term trajectory will always end up being apes and humans co-existing peacefully but it's kind of thrilling to go imagine the potential fallout of tensions that brew between them in this, like what if good humans were pitted against good apes in a future struggle for supremacy. Yeah they did that before but it was always evil humans or evil apes, a two-dimensional conflict with one side clearly in the wrong. This sequel teases some finer nuance to that.

And it finally dawned on me that my favorite thing about every "Planet of the Apes" movie is really just watching the apes talk. Back when they were makeup and prosthetic beaks in the '70s, then even greater makeup and some CGI in the Tim Burton one-off, and now as fully CGI mo-cap models, across all iterations they've always been one of the coolest visual effects creations in cinema history. Here it's downright astonishing how having pretty much zero recognizable actors in the cast (except for William H. Macy playing an old man which is kinda funny because his endearingly wimpy voice will never sound grizzled) doesn't affect this big summer blockbuster one bit because even more so than the Na'vi (perhaps because humanoid apes are more appealing to look at than those alien designs), the movements of the apes are so captivating in close-up when they converse, when they think, when they react to anything that it's worth the admission even without the accompanying adventure yarn, sci-fi mystery factor and stunt show spectacles. Like I dare Hollywood to make a "Before Sunrise" type movie but with apes, and by dare I mean plead sincerely because I think it would be stunning. A conversational character study, using this mocap technology.

In a way it makes the performances in this movie great in a next-level way that regular live action filming can't even do because it adds more dimension and texture to these simian faces than what we humans have. The future of acting? Could be. Big applause either way to the apes cast and what they helped craft: Owen Teague, Peter Macon, Kevin Durand, Travis Jeffery, Lydia Peckham, Eka Darville, etc.

Weighted Rating : 6.9
No. Ratings : 1
No. Reviews : 1

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2024 3
2020's 41
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2020's 77
All-time 8167

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