Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
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Planet of the Apes was one of the first big sci-fi franchises while original groundbreaking flick soon spawned a five-film series and TV spin-off, and it was one of the earliest merchandised films. After Tim Burton’s 2001 reimagining fell flat following more than three decades on ice and an ill-fated high-budget remake, some believed that this franchise had become an antiquity.

Thus, in 2011, Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ triumph at box office and critically came as quite a shock. What started life as another attempt to squeeze money out of an IP with a realistic prequel turned into one hell of a moving story about how people see things differently now. It is thanks to the impressive motion capture work by Andy Serkis and digital effects done by Weta Digital that Rise of the Planet of the Apes brought this franchise into the twenty-first century. Its two subsequent chapters: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and War for The Planet Of The Apes (2017), somehow managed to do what no other film in between could—improve upon its predecessor while forming a great trilogy.

There was certainly pressure on Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes after that. When it was announced there were fears that this would be another case where they milked it until it dried after such a perfect ending for what is now known as The Caesar Trilogy. To make matters worse, Caesar actor Andy Serkis did not return for this fourth movie leading many to think that it will dent its predecessors good reputation too much. However, directed by Wes Ball with screenplay written by Josh Friedman, Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes does not only build on top what has been laid down by Caesar trilogy but also comes up with an exciting new path which takes it places no other has ever attempted before under first installment in new exciting trilogy.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes takes place three centuries after Caesar’s death in War for the Planet of the Apes. On one side, apes have formed complex societies, while humans have regressed into a state that resembles feralism. Eventually, Noa (Owen Teague) has to save his village from ape king Proximus Caesar’s troops following meeting with Mae (Freya Allen), a mysterious human woman.

Proximus has taken up Caesar’s words and twisted them to create a new kingdom consisting of conquered ape colonies as he looks forward to getting human technology to make him stronger. While trying to rescue Noa’s family from Proximus’ grasp and at the same time discovering hidden facts about their world, Noa is teamed up alongside an orangutan named Raka (Peter Macon), who is part of an order that follows original teachings handed down by Caesar. Meanwhile, Mae knows something that could change everything for earth.

Being the dawn of a revolution, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and War for the Planet of the Apes are equated to political war movies and prison escape movies respectively thereby making Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes an exemplary hero’s journey. Such comparison has been made with A New hope and this is totally justified since it is nothing more than a mythic quest compared to any other in this series. In such cases, young individuals leave their homes where they meet wise men. As they arrive at new friends’ places, they realize that what they used to know about them had changed.

This movie takes place well after his death but he remains still around. The previous three were biopics centered on Caesar’s life who was an ape whose birth and death changed everything on earth; however Kingdom of the planet apes treats him as if he were one biblical character. Today he is mythical like Rama or Krishna among westerners. When some monkeys like Raka stick close to his teachings as a religion while others have twisted them to suit their own purposes just like Proximus.

When Julius Caesar’s name became synonymous with the title it is similar to how Proximus has done with ape Ceaser where those words spread his rule thus turning himself into another god for other primates. Such tension between Raka’s adherence to ancient text (and Proximus corrupting it) calls up images various religious organizations and make this film appear like a biblical epic.

Kingdom of the Planet asks us what becomes out of ape civilization without Caesar who grew up with humans and might act as an intermediary during peace negotiations? Next: what happens after The Planet of The Apes? Not in a literal sense that there would be fantasy sequel featuring destructions which occurred in Beneath The Planet Of The Apes leading it towards blowing up Earth; rather what transpires when apes have triumphed and are governing the world? Will there be peace or will they fall into the same pits as humans in so many civilizations before them? Is it possible for humans and apes to co-inhabit this earth keeping in mind their entire pasts? Now, like mankind has to evolve, so does its franchise together with that of apes.

Raka is played by Peter Macon who is just amazing. Noa’s wise mentor also gives a great character who can explain all previous films of the series for those not familiar with them. Furthermore, he creates some rib cracking entertainment moments thereby adding some humor to events.

Terrifying is what Kevin Durand, as Proximus Caesar, is. All through the film, he makes his presence felt despite appearing late and gives a showy king a king who craves for attention and exploits those under him to obtain power; this is the time that he mainly uses in the film. Thus, instead of man’s red fire, he wants guns and tanks like an evil(er) King Louie from The Jungle Book: with respect to this matter and Abigail, Durand has had a fantastic year of great performances that have now put him on the spotlight.

The biggest weakness of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ struggle is its runtime; it runs for two hours and twenty-five minutes making it be the lengthiest among all entries in this series. For example, this movie uses its runtime to survey numerous themes before using them as clues for forthcoming films. Therefore, even after several years since inception, there are many possibilities yet to be explored by Ape franchise. It can be argued that while setting up future films maybe but at least movie should not feel its runtime as much during its first act.

Another stumbling block is its two main characters Noe and Mae. In fact Noa seems somewhat frugal throughout half of picture since only upon meeting Raka and Mae does his personality take shape finally. Then again Mae keeps both Noa – by extension – herself at arm’s length hence her character remains a mystery too hard to pinpoint. There’s purpose behind this ambiguity though; she is supposed to keep us guessing.

At any rate, both these characters really come together in the second act such that by film’s end they start in interesting position which leads into sequel (which will be next). However, besides being human protagonist against these films’ apes Mae also doubts about Noa and thus she appears unpredictable. Nevertheless another word would spoil everything other than for drawing from past of franchises Mae is a perfect example of this.

In many ways, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is undoubtedly closer in setup to the original Planet of the Apes film than the three films preceding it. It’s a movie which takes place as apes have formed their civilizations and cultures and humans are feral almost extinct species. This movie does take some delight in playing around with iconography from the original film such as apes on horseback catching humans in nets that were obvious homages (for instance, characters at a beach).

One of the reasons why War for the Planet of the Apes has kids in mind as its target demographic is because most of its cast consists of computer-generated apes. It should not be surprising that children were largely responsible for turning the earlier Planet of the Apes movies from around 1968 to 1973, into a very successful merchandising franchise. However, so far, all entries in the franchise this century have been directed at an older audience. That doesn’t mean Kingdom is childish; rather, it makes reference to multiple deep issues in life. But with focus on ape as protagonist depicts that it can appeal to kids and also they can relate some deeper themes as long as they are not bothered by long duration of this movie.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes does justice to Caesar’s trilogy. Although it cannot quite match up to what preceded it, there is no shame in that when you consider just how high a pedestal those films created. The first part will always include more explanations and despite that flaw this film is still really good and better than most summer blockbusters which tells us how solid this series has been.

Compared to other big sci-fi IPs, Kingdom feels sophisticated and original. Its audacity is almost hard to believe. There are sweet scenes of characters carrying on a conversation, and thanks to Weta’s amazing VFX team work, Wes Ball’s direction and awesome performances by actors we forget about who was doing it since apes are doing this scene . This sounds ridiculous just looking at it on paper but works incredibly well which shows you how powerful movies can be sometimes. Fiction feels like fact.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is what audiences want from a summer blockbuster. It does not shy away from asking its viewers important questions; instead it challenges them with daring inquiries like these ones and many others. It moves from where previous installments left off while simultaneously serving as an ideal introduction for newcomers. This is a stand-alone piece of work and its final moments will leave fans clamoring for more to come and much anticipation on the fate of heroes. Caesar’s story may be over, but the new chapter in the history of Planet of the Apes franchise has just begun and with such momentum it is possible that this could become one of those very rare six-part movies that are all good.

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