Category Archives: Action

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) Review

Time: 137 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains fantasy violence
Cast:
Dane DeHaan as Major Valerian
Cara Delevingne as Sergeant Laureline
Clive Owen as Arün Filitt
Rihanna as Bubble
Ethan Hawke as Jolly the Pimp
Herbie Hancock as Defence Minister
Kris Wu as Captain Neza
Rutger Hauer as the President of the World State Federation
Director: Luc Besson

In the 28th century, special operatives Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) work together to maintain order throughout the human territories. Under assignment from the minister of defense, the duo embarks on a mission to Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis where diverse species gather to share knowledge and culture. When a dark force threatens the peaceful city, Valerian and Laureline must race against time to identify the menace that also jeopardizes the future of the universe.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Valerian was a movie I was curious about. I like some of Luc Besson’s films with Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element. Also with the cast involved and it being based on a graphic novel that supposedly inspired countless sci-fi stories, I was intrigued as to what the movie would turn out like. Having finally seen Valerian, I feel a little conflicted. Valerian is a bit of a polarising movie, it does some things well but also has a lot of issues. Most of the main actors do quite well in their roles, I was interested in the world and the visuals were beautiful. However the writing is very flawed, from dialogue, to character, to story, there’s a lot of issues. It’s a bit of a mixed bag but I enjoyed it at the same time.

I’ll get this out of the way, the script has a lot of issues. Let’s start with the length, this movie is way too long, it is 2 hours 17 minutes. I don’t have an issue with Valerian being that long but if its going to be that way, the movie should be pretty engaging all the way through, and it really isn’t. This movie at many points could’ve been trimmed down quite a bit. For example, the first sequence with Valerian and Laureline on a mission is mostly decent but its way too long, especially a segment when Valerian’s arm stuck in a box-like device which I swear goes on for over 5 minutes (or at least feels like it). Because of the occasional dragging of the story, I wasn’t paying attention to the movie all the time, near the end it had my attention but for most of the movie it dipped in and out from having my interest to finding the movie to be a drag. Another issue is that this movie relies on way too much on exposition, there are so many moments when people just explain and information dump some things that the audience needed to know. It is hard to accuse this movie of being ‘too sci-fish’ as the graphic novel inspired so many sci-fi stories and movies. Although I gotta give Besson some credit for going all the way with the sci fi aspects, I think he went a little too far with it, and by that I mean the movie is a little weird, not necessarily a bad thing but there were some random moments at times, I didn’t know what was going on (maybe that was the intention). The humour was very hit or miss, and when the humour is a dud, you really feel it. Even though I was reasonably entertained by the movie, I found it hard to care about what was going on, it was predictable and I never felt worried about what could happen. The best part of the script is the world, the world is very interesting, I almost want the planned (and apparently already written) Valerian sequels, just to see more of this world. Overall, the script is a mess, a lot of the plot is fine and the world is nice but there are so many issues in the story, dialogue and pacing that really hold this movie back from being effective.

Dane Dehaan and Cara Delevingne were the leads of Valerian and they had good chemistry, however the writing between them is silly and cliché, it feels kind of forced and you don’t really buy the relationship between the two. Dehaan and Delevingne made the relationship between them somewhat work. Dane Dehaan, while good in his role, did feel a little out of place. I couldn’t tell whether it was the writing or if Dehaan was miscast. Delevingne on the other hand fits right into her role well, she was one of the stand outs of the movie. She has charisma, humour and you can buy her in the action scenes, she was one of the surprises of Valerian. Rihanna and Ethan Hawke are good in their short amount of screentime, very entertaining and fun to watch. There are a lot of brief weird characters and out of all of them, those two were the only ones I liked. The rest were just to random and pointless that I didn’t care for them. Clive Owen is a great actor but here he is wasted. He does try to act well but he’s not in the movie a lot and his role is very cliché and typical.

The visuals of Valerian are the best aspect of the film, its such a beautiful looking movie. The world of this movie feels huge and kinda intriguing. At times some aspects of the CGI did feel slightly off, but maybe its because so much CGI is on screen at the same time. The action itself is fast paced and very entertaining. As previously mentioned, this movie is very sci-fish (perhaps too much for its own good) but the designs for everything from the world to the aliens was great. The overall direction really immerses you in this very different world. The style is a little odd at times, but again, that might have been Besson’s intention.

Valerian is a very mixed bag. On one hand it has plenty of writing issues. On the other hand, I liked most of the main performances, the world was great and the visuals were nice to watch. Even though I like Valerian, I can completely understand people who hate it. Along with its many flaws, it is a very weird movie (however I almost kind of respect Luc Besson for going all the way with this movie). Honestly the only thing I can guarantee that everyone will think of the movie is that the visuals look good. Valerian isn’t one of Luc Besson’s best movies, its not even on the level of The Fifth Element but I’d say its better than Lucy. If you are curious enough, check Valerian out, just know that you are going to be watching a flawed, weird and beautiful looking sci-fi flick. And also know that there’s no guarantee that you’ll like it.

Dredd (2012) Review

Time: 95 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Graphic violence and offensive language
Cast
Karl Urban as Judge Dredd
Olivia Thirlby as Judge Cassandra Anderson
Lena Headey as Ma-Ma (Madeline Madrigal)
Wood Harris as Kay
Director: Pete Travis

Mega City One is a vast, violent metropolis where felons rule the streets. The only law lies with cops called “judges,” who act as judge, jury and executioner, and Dredd (Karl Urban) is one of the city’s most feared. One day, Dredd is partnered with Cassandra (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities. A report of a terrible crime sends Dredd and Cassandra to a dangerous area controlled by Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), a drug lord who will stop at nothing to protect her empire.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Dredd had a lot of potential to fail. There had been a Judge Dredd movie with Sylvester Stallone in the mid 90s, which while enjoyable as a guilty pleasure, isn’t very good. Dredd was a surprise to many including myself, it had all the elements of a very solid action flick fun time, and from what I can tell its an accurate representation of Judge Dredd. One of the most underrated action movies in recent years.

This movie is very straightforward, it’s just our main characters going from room to room while hoards of enemies hunt for them. Now I’m not a Judge Dredd comics fan but I could tell that the original Judge Dredd was more of a Sylvester Stallone action flick than an actual Judge Dredd movie. Dredd is truly a Judge Dredd film. The world is really nicely realised, it is a grim and dark world, the R rating really helped the movie go deeper into it. I was entertained throughout, from the set up at the beginning to when the film actually kicks off, which is when our protagonists are actually facing endless amounts of people trying to kill them and it doesn’t let up. There isn’t anything wrong about the film that I could pinpoint, it has great protagonists, a threatening antagonist and an interesting world, everything that Dredd needed.

Karl Urban is Judge Dredd, that’s all I can really say. He is ruthless, badass and unrelenting, and no, at no point do you see him without his mask. This movie really isn’t a character study or anything like that, so don’t expect a lot of character depth with his version of Judge Dredd, but it worked very well for the movie as it was a straightforward action movie. Olivia Thirlby is also really good as a rookie judge with Dredd, who does have psychic powers, those two worked together well as our main characters. Lena Headey makes for a great villain, ruthless, sinister and brutal, she stole every scene she was in. Also the way she plays the role and reacted to certain situations made her have such a strong screen presence.

Dredd surprisingly only has a 30-45 million dollar budget, making it a much smaller film than you’d expect. However that budget was used well because this film is directly greatly. The action is great, it is very violent and pretty much how I would imagine a Judge Dredd film would be. This film also involves slow-mo, and they find a way to make slow-mo actually make sense, as there is a drug literally called slow-mo that slows down the brain of whoever takes it and it was portrayed so well on screen. The R-rating is not always necessary but sometimes it is really needed to fully make the movie they want. This is one of those cases. The film is brutal and dark, definitely far from the Stallone cheesefest from the 90s, and I loved it.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dredd, the actors were great in their roles, the action is good. This film isn’t revolutionary, I don’t think I’d consider it one of the best action films of the 2010s, but for what it was trying to be it succeeded very well. I have no idea if they are making a Dredd sequel but I’d love to see one, I wanna see more of the world that they portrayed.

Judge Dredd (1995) Review

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Sylvester Stallone as Judge Dredd
Armand Assante as Rico Dredd
Rob Schneider as Fergee
Diane Lane as Judge Hershey
Jürgen Prochnow as Judge Griffin
Max von Sydow as Chief Justice Fargo
Director: Danny Cannon

In a dystopic future, where urban areas have grown into Mega-Cities that cover entire coastal regions, the justice system has evolved to a single person invested with the power of police, judge, jury and executioner: the Judge. Among the Judges of Mega-City One, Judge Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone) is one of the best, and a particular favorite of the Head of the Council, Chief Justice Fargo (Max von Sydow). But there are evil forces at work in the Justice Department: block riots and the escape of Rico (Armand Assante), a homicidal maniac, are only steps in a plan that ultimately lead to the sentencing of Dredd for a murder he did not commit. And Dredd must discover the secrets of his own past and survive to stop the evildoers.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Before the underrated 2012 film there was an attempt at making a Judge Dredd movie in the 1990s. The end product wasn’t very good. It is however an incredibly entertaining movie, it was cheesy from the over the top acting, to the cliché dialogue, it’s an enjoyable movie for how silly it is. But I really wouldn’t call it a Judge Dredd movie.

Judge Dredd feels like a typical sci-fi, dystopian action movie from the 1990s. The first 10 minutes felt somewhat like a Judge Dredd film but any of those elements is gone after that point. The Sci-Fi world that we are introduced to has been made a million times over, so it just feels rather generic and not very unique. On top of that, for a lot of the movie we aren’t even exploring that world, we are just going from random location to random location, and these locations aren’t really intersting. So to recap, the sci-fi world isn’t that unique and we are stuck in locations that are even less interesting. As for the plot, I’m not a Judge Dredd fan really but I don’t think this plot was right for Dredd. Dredd being falsely accused of murder and going from one place to another to further the plot really doesn’t feel like a story for him, it’s more of a plot for another Stallone character. This movie is also very goofy. The dialogue is very cheesy and over the top. Seriously, count how many times Stallone is talking about ‘The Law’, often in an over the top way, or asks people “How do you plead?” before responding to their replies with “I knew you’d say that”. In that sense it is very fun to watch, because of how silly it is. I was entertained throughout, there wasn’t a dull moment when viewing this as a silly Stallone flick (except for when Rob Schneider was on screen).

Sylvester Stallone is trying to play Judge Dredd and the character is barely Judge Dredd. It feels like the whole movie was trying to be a Stallone movie, just him with the name of Judge Dredd. If you want any proof, Stallone barely wears the mask, (and Stallone himself insisted having it on all the time but to no avail). The cheesy dialogue doesn’t help much, as I said Dredd in this movie comes across like a Sylvester Stallone character rather than actually Judge Dredd. Despite all that, he is very entertaining. Armand Assante is the villain and he is incredibly over the top. He’s not that great as a villain but he is entertaining and is super into his role, so I do appreciate it. Supporting actors like Max von Sydow are fine. In terms of bad acting, we’ve got the comedic relief by none other but Rob Schneider. Yes, that Rob Schneider. Honestly while the role was written to be an annoying comic relief, any actors could play that role and be passable in the role. Schneider however turns a mildly annoying role into an insufferable role. He just had no reason to exist, he wasn’t funny, nor did he serve to really help Dredd or the other characters. He was completely useless, and it made me wonder why Dredd kept bringing him along with him.

The action is typical over the top 80s/90s sci-fi action. It doesn’t feel particularly gritty (something that the new movie thankfully changed), it is entertaining however. I might even say that for the most part the action is done well. There is a space bike chase with some obvious green screen, then again this is typical for this type of movie in the 90s. The costumes are over the top and honestly kind of cheap. Even when Stallone is in the helmet, he just looks silly, and it’s not Sylvester Stallone, it’s the helmet surprisingly.

Judge Dredd is not a very good movie, it’s silly, it’s cheesy and its completely over the top. However it is endlessly entertaining for those same reasons, intentional or not. It’s a guilty pleasure for me, however it isn’t the movie that Judge Dredd deserves. If you want an entertaining and silly Stallone flick, you’ll like this movie. But if you would prefer a proper Judge Dredd movie I highly recommend the 2012 film with Karl Urban.

Atomic Blonde (2017) Review

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Contains graphic violence, sex scenes, offensive language & nudity
Cast
Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton
James McAvoy as David Percival
John Goodman as Emmett Kurzfeld
Til Schweiger as The Watchmaker
Eddie Marsan as Spyglass
Sofia Boutella as Delphine Lasalle
Toby Jones as Eric Gray
Bill Skarsgård as Merkel
Director: David Leitch

Sensual and savage, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is the most elite spy in MI6, an agent who’s willing to use all of her lethal skills to stay alive during an impossible mission. With the Berlin Wall about to fall, she travels into the heart of the city to retrieve a priceless dossier and take down a ruthless espionage ring. Once there, she teams up with an embedded station chief to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

While one half of the directors of John Wick continued with the sequel, the other half (David Leitch) worked on an adaptation of a graphic novel titled The Coldest City which resulted in Atomic Blonde. With the talent of the director, as well as the talent of actors involved such as Charlize Theron and James McAvoy, how could I not be excited? And it lived up to expectations. The actors were great in their roles (particularly Theron and McAvoy), the story was interesting enough and David Leitch’s direction were all great.

Atomic Blonde’s plot isn’t anything special but it works for the movie. There is enough twists to keep you invested in what’s going on from start to finish. Whether all the twists will hold up on a second viewing remains to be seen. The plot kept me pretty interested throughout and I was consistently entertained. One last thing I want to address, I know a lot of people will go into Atomic Blonde expecting Jane Wick but don’t, Theron’s Lorraine Broughton is not like John Wick, and the world that this film is isn’t the criminal underworld from the John Wick universe. The only thing similar in both the John Wick films and Atomic Blonde is the excellent direction. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just different. No, Atomic Blonde doesn’t have the fascinating world that John Wick has, but it doesn’t need to. For what the movie that it was aiming to be, Atomic Blonde succeeded very well.

Charlize Theron absolutely owns her role as Lorraine Broughton, she’s fantastic in her action sequences and actingwise she is fantastic as well, she really does have a screen presence. She steals every scene she’s in. However another showstealer is James McAvoy, who is also great in his role as a very wild, shady and morally ambiguous character. There were times when both McAvoy and Theron were on screen and I couldn’t tell who stole the show more. McAvoy was definitely one of the highlights of the film. Other actors like Sofia Boutella, Toby Jones, John Goodman and Eddie Marsan were really good in their roles.

David Leitch’s direction naturally is great. This movie like John Wick is very stylised and was one of the highlights of the film. Unsurprising the action is great with the cinematography capturing all the action clearly, the stunts and choreography looked genuine especially from Charlize Theron and they were very entertaining overall. Probably the most standout action sequence is inside a apartment and at a stairwell later in the movie, it is brutal and unrelenting. It is also a long 7 minute unbroken take (or at least appears to be). That was the best action sequence in the film, so incredibly done. I guess maybe the only negative I can say that its not consistent as to whether the action scenes are stylistic or realistic and brutal and they feel distinctly different from each other but that’s a minor issue. The soundtrack is also really great, along with Tyler Bates’s score, there is a bunch of classic songs that play very well in the film.

Atomic Blonde is a really good action movie, the actors was good, Theron and McAvoy stole the show and it had some truly great action sequences. For those wondering, no, I wouldn’t quite consider it at the level of quality of the John Wick movies but honestly it doesn’t need to be. I actually wouldn’t mind a sequel to Atomic Blonde if it actually happens, I would love to see more of Lorrain Broughton in action. To repeat a point I said before, don’t go in expecting Female John Wick, maybe expect the similar action but that’s it, Atomic Blonde is its own thing, and I’m glad it is.

Baby Driver (2017) Review

Time: 112 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Strong violence and offensive language
Cast:
Ansel Elgort as Baby
Kevin Spacey as Doc
Lily James as Debora
Jon Hamm as Buddy
Eiza González as Darling
Jamie Foxx as Bats
Jon Bernthal as Griff
Director: Edgar Wright

Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. After meeting the woman (Lily James) of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his shady lifestyle and make a clean break. Coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), Baby must face the music as a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Baby Driver was a movie that I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while. I’ve loved every movie from director Edgar Wright, and with the cast with actors such as Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx involved, it had a lot of potential. Baby Driver blew me away. Entertaining from start to finish, directed and written perfectly, Baby Driver is one of the best films of 2017. Edgar Wright has made yet another fantastic film.

Now the movie doesn’t have the most original story, they’ve been plenty of crime, heist and car chase movies. However, Baby Driver is a love letter to those movies (and to music as well), and this movie has a lot of fun with it. Edgar Wright’s writing is top notch as always, from the dialogue, to the foreshadowing, humour and the plot overall, everything is written to perfection. Like Wright’s other movies, there are bits that most people won’t necessarily notice on a first viewing, so I can see people loving this movie even more on repeat viewings. I was entertained from start to finish. It is quite a fun movie overall but its also serious enough that you care about what’s going on. If there’s any flaw I can find with the movie its that the romance just sort of comes out of nowhere and starts abruptly. That’s it really, and even then the romance does work overall because of the leads’ chemistry (more on that in a bit). Honestly aside from that aspect, there wasn’t really a low point of the movie.

This movie has a very talented cast, the one actor in the cast that I was unsure about was Ansel Elgort, he’s a decent actor but I hadn’t seen him great in anything … until now. He really impressed me in Baby Driver, he’s likable and he fully embraces his role. Baby Driver really is his movie and he shines in it. I did mention that the romance is rather sudden and its unbelievable how quickly it starts, but what makes it work is the chemistry between Ansel Elgort and Lily James, they work perfectly together, without them the romance (which is one of the main points of the movie) wouldn’t work at all. This movie has a lot of talented supporting actors with Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Jamie Foxx and Jon Bernthal and others and they are great. The stand outs to me were Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm, they really left an impression on me the most.

Edgar Wright’s direction is perfect once again, you can definitely feel his attention to detail and is so incredible to watch. The car chase scenes feel real and not fake at all, the stunts are so great. I’m not sure if any CGI was used, but if it they did I certainly didn’t notice it. The most stand out parts of the movie is how it uses music in the film. This movie has a large and fun soundtrack but what’s even better is how it uses it in the film itself, for example a lot of the time, the film times the sound effects of the scenes with the music perfectly and it is glorious to watch. The first scene of Baby Driver gives you a good idea about how music is used.

Baby Driver is a really entertaining movie with great acting from its talented cast, as well as Edgar Wright’s smart and funny writing and direction. I’m not sure where this ranks among Wright’s other movies but I can say that it’s at the very least fantastic on its own. Baby Driver is one of the best films of the year, and I would absolutely recommend checking it out.

Dunkirk (2017) Review

Time: 106 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Fionn Whitehead as Tommy
Tom Glynn-Carney as Peter
Jack Lowden as Collins
Harry Styles as Alex
Aneurin Barnard as Gibson
James D’Arcy as Colonel Winnant
Barry Keoghan as George
Kenneth Branagh as Commander Bolton
Cillian Murphy as Shivering Soldier
Mark Rylance as Mr Dawson
Tom Hardy as Farrier
Director: Christopher Nolan

In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

Dunkirk is directed by Christopher Nolan, that was enough to get me on board for this movie. I’ve loved nearly every film from him, he always brings his A game to the table to deliver great movies. The concept of him take on a war movie was intriguing, and on top of that he had a great cast with actors like Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy involved. So I was definitely excited to see Dunkirk and unsurprisingly, Nolan did not disappoint. Dunkirk is a very different war movie from most, very intense and captivating and is also one of the best examples of excellent visual storytelling. One of the best films of the year for sure.

This movie is unique compared to other war movies, it is really something special. Dunkirk feels incredibly realistic, more so than most ‘realistic war movies’. Whereas most war movies focus on both the characters and the war, Dunkirk solely focusses on the war. The movie doesn’t ever have a moment when someone gives their life story like most war movies (because in war, that wouldn’t happen). One of the best parts of the movie was the visual storytelling. Nolan uses exposition sparingly, only when necessary. The rest is just pure visual storytelling at its best. If there is one criticism I might have is that there isn’t really a whole lot of character depth or development, it really wasn’t that big of a problem for me. However, I do think it could’ve been possible to give the characters a little more depth then they ended up displaying in the movie. It’s just a minor flaw though. Dunkirk has three perspectives, one on land with Fionn Whitehead over a week, one on boat with Mark Rylance over a day, and one in the air with Tom Hardy over an hour. The transitions are a little jarring sometimes like, when its night-time in the land segment and then it suddenly cuts to daytime in the plane section. This movie is short for a Nolan movie at 1 hour 46 minutes and I think it was a good running time, its not too short and it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

This movie has a large and talented cast with Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and others and they were great in their roles. As I said earlier, this movie doesn’t have a lot of character development or exposition, the actors just needed to act well in their roles and they really did that. An example is Tom Hardy, most of the time his face is covered by a mask and he’s just acting with his eyes and he is one of the stand out performances in the film. And yes, even Harry Styles is pretty good in his role.

Christopher Nolan directed this movie, and as usual he brings his A-game, it is what makes this movie work so incredibly well. The cinematography by Hoyte van Hotyema is top notch, you completely feel like you’re with these people during these events. This film feels very realistic, the war sequences never feels overblown or over the top, there’s no self indulgent bloody violence for the sake of violence. Hans Zimmer’s score raises the tension, definitely plays a big part in making the film work. Honestly all things considered, this one of Christopher Nolan’s best directed films yet.

Dunkirk is yet another excellent film from Christopher Nolan. Along with the acting and story, the direction and visual storytelling is absolutely fantastic. It’s also an important movie, and watching these events of Dunkirk occur is really compelling. I can’t say how this movie would rank against Nolan’s other movies, but it is probably one of his best, which is saying a lot. Dunkirk is truly one of the best films of the year.

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) Review

Time: 140 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and content that may disturb
Cast:
Andy Serkis as Caesar
Steve Zahn as Bad Ape
Karin Konoval as Maurice
Terry Notary as Rocket
Ty Olsson as Red
Woody Harrelson as The Colonel
Amiah Miller as Nova
Director: Matt Reeves

Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson). 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 of their species and the future of the planet.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1]

War for the Planet of the Apes was one of my most anticipated films of 2017. Director Matt Reeves did an excellent job with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to the surprising Rise of the Planet of the Apes. So naturally, I was excited for what was to come. I am happy to say that War for the Planet of the Apes was even better than I thought it would be. Matt Reeves again delivers on making a compelling film in this series and has truly crafted something special.

This movie probably shouldn’t have been called War for the Planet of the Apes, despite the trailer and the title its not really a war movie, its not an action movie either. There is only a couple of major action sequences, the rest of the film is a drama and I have to give Reeves credit for being willing enough to go much deeper with the story, instead of making the film bigger and more actiony just because its the conclusion of the trilogy. This film is also even darker than Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, its very bleak with only a few bright spots. The stakes are more personal and it focusses heavily on Caesar, it’s the most character driven story out of all the Apes movies. Rise and Dawn partially focussed on the humans along with the apes and because they weren’t as interesting as the apes, their segments felt weaker in comparison. War doesn’t have this problem, it’s almost always focussed on the apes (particularly Caesar) and you care about every moment. This film is slower paced and it is long, at 2 hours and 20 minutes. But it really does work in the film’s favour and helps to tell the story. The story of War for the Planet of the Apes may not be what you’d expect it to be (without spoiling anything) but I can’t imagine it being any better. Absolutely everything in this movie is perfect, Reeves again has made me emotionally attached to a movie about apes, not an easy task.

Andy Serkis is absolutely phenomenal as Caesar, honestly this is the best I’ve seen him in a movie. It’s been great seeing him evolve as a character from Rise, to Dawn and now War. This movie is Caesar’s story. Most of the main characters are apes and all of them are great, a standout (like in the previous movies) being Karin Konoval’s character Maurice. There is a new character, with Bad Ape played by Steve Zahn, who I guess you could call the comic relief of the film. This movie is very bleak, with only some instances of humour, and Bad Ape takes up the majority of the humour. This character could’ve gone so wrong, becoming annoying or distracting but that’s not the case. He’s an genuinely entertaining and likable character and Zahn did a great job. There are only a couple of noteworthy human characters. One of them is Amiah Miller as a mute girl, she did a really great job in her role, especially when she interacted with the apes. The other is Woody Harrelson as The Colonel. He works well as a threatening antagonist but at the same time is given some depth and has some motivations for what he does.

Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had great special effects and War for the Planet of the Apes has effects that are even better. The special effects are incredible, at no point does the CGI feel fake. I’m especially talking about the motion capture work for the apes, most of the characters are apes and all of them are look incredibly convincing. War for the Planet of the Apes has some of the best motion capture in a film ever. There isn’t a massive amount of action (really just two major sequences) but whenever it happens it is done excellently. Michael Giaachino has a bit of a reputation of making passable but forgettable scores, however his score here is actually pretty good, and really adds to the movie. Matt Reeves’s direction of this movie is overall perfect, there’s nothing I have an issue with really.

War for the Planet of the Apes is not just one of the best films of the year, it is also one of the best blockbusters in recent years. The fantastic direction by Matt Reeves, the excellent performances (particularly from Andy Serkis), and the deep and complex story truly make this an incredible movie. I will say for those going in, keep in mind is that it’s a full on drama, don’t go in expecting an action film. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has a mix of drama and action, War for the Planet of the Apes is a drama. Matt Reeves did a great job with this film, I don’t know how it could be any better. I don’t know whether there will be any more sequels but if this the final instalment to the franchise, then it’s a fantastic conclusion to one of the best film trilogies ever.