19/07/2017

War For The Planet Of The Apes - Applause Break For The Visual Effects Guys

Quick Thoughts: War For The Planet Of The Apes (2017)

One of the last surviving armed groups of humans wage war against Caesar and the evolved apes.


I've only just seen this for the first time, but, I'm gonna say it; this is an imperfect masterpiece that may prove to be one of the most significant films of our time. This wasn't the huge violent spectacle that I suspected it was going to be, but that is in no way a negative. War For The Planet Of The Apes (let's just call it Planet Of The Apes) is all about story, so this is what you have to go in looking for.

But, before touching on this, we'll go over the few slight negatives of this film. Firstly, and this is minor, the direction isn't mind-blowing; it is really effective and efficient but doesn't pack a huge punch. However, considering the scale of this movie and where the bulk of the budget must be going, the choice to keep a lot of this film as simple as can be makes a lot of sense. The only true downfalls of Planet Of The Apes concerns the script. Whilst this movie has brilliant pieces of comedy and such a rich story, the exploration of new characters isn't too strong. Moreover, there are two huge exposition dump scenes. These are only acted and written satisfactorily, and so it would have been great to see all the exposition just put onto screen as part of the story. But, again, we can't be too harsh on this movie because what it does with its budget is astounding and so we can't really demand more scenes (even though they would be great).

Moving on to the positives... the CGI. The fucking apes are real in this movie. The whole visual effects team have done something impossible and miraculous; they are the true heroes of this movie. Exceptional Minds, Halon Entertainment, Stereo D, Weta Digital and probably a plethora of other names will go unsung, but goddamn. The manner in which visual effects companies are treated in the film industry is often pretty horrific, but, though Matt Reeves, Andy Serkis and Woody Harelson are the big names that sell this movie, the special effects guys should be considered rockstars. I can't articulate just how terrific a job they've collectively done with this movie, but, that's ok; it speaks for itself. So, whilst you always know that you're looking at CGI throughout this movie, you honestly have to repeat this fact to yourself when looking at Maurice, the Orangutan. The lighting, the textures, the modelling... insane. There are of course shots that don't live up to the best the visual effects guys put to screen, but it's simply ridiculous that I could go and pay to sit in a theatre to see this movie executed to such an unimaginable standard.

It's hard to know for sure, but Planet of The Apes feels like a game-changer in this respect. There are a few Pixar shorts that are so incredibly realistic that it's scary, but this technological innovation has just been put into a full-length non-animated feature, signifying new heights of CG cinema.

With that said, this movie doesn't just look good, the story is immense. I do not want to get into any spoilers in this post, but Planet Of The Apes is a classical, even biblical at many points, tale about great kings, history, morality and the Great Flood disguised as a modern spectacle film. In such, the profoundly archetypal nature and self-awareness of this story truly blew me away - and this really isn't a detail that should be going over peoples' heads. However, I don't want to say anymore in this post so I'll just reiterate; this is an imperfect masterpiece that may prove to be one of the most significant films of our time. Maybe I'm too high off of just seeing this movie, but... Jesus Christ.

To end, have you seen this movie yet? What are your thoughts?





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Cars - The Pixar Standard

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The Planet Of The Apes Prequel Trilogy - A Modern Masterpiece

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