War for the Planet of the Apes (Blu-Ray)
Caesar’s saga comes to a conclusion in Matt Reeve’s War for the Planet of the Apes, with a stunning end to the trilogy that continues to impress even within your home. Come inside to check out my full review of the recent blu-ray release!
The end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes made it clear that war was on the horizon and peace between the Apes and Humans wasn’t an option. It made for a somewhat dire ending to the film, but set up events we knew were coming. War for the Planet of the Apes, obviously, picks up on this thread and shows us the world in all out war, with a more grizzled and cynical Caesar leading his brethren.
The human army is desperate to end the Ape colony and have spent the last few years devoted to finding Caesar, while his kept all his people safe and hidden in the woods. It quickly becomes clear that the noose is tightening, and just as Caesar and his apes have seemingly found a new location to call home, the Colonel (played incredibly by Woody Harrelson) attacks. The vicious assault on his people spurs Caesar on a quest for vengeance, but along with his companions, they find much more is at stake.
It's a surprisingly emotional film, that managed to jab me in the heart at multiple points throughout. Even on multiple viewings there's no denying the impact the movie continues to have. As such, it's ideal for bringing home, as you'll want to watch it over and over. Hell, just in sitting down to write this review, I can't stop thinking about it and how much I want to watch it again.
Rise was a really good film, and an excellent start to a new Planet of the Apes franchise, while Dawn was a step forward in just about every way. War feels like yet another incredible leap forward for the franchise, managing to build off of everything presented in those first films, while still carving its own path. It's an impressive feat, and even now I'm struggling to think of any other franchise that has consistently improved with each subsequent film.
So if you missed out on the film when it arrived in theaters, I can honestly say the blu-ray is well worth the purchase for the movie alone. Hell, even if you saw it before, it's story is plenty strong enough to sustain as many viewings as you're willing to give it.
Sight and Sound
There's no denying the impact the new Apes films have had on visual effects. Their work in motion capture has continually pushed the boundaries and always delivered. War for the Planet is no different in this regard and there's never a moment where things look off or out of place. From the first minute to the last, the Apes are entirely believable as characters. It's amazing just how quickly and effectively the VFX work is able to convince you that these characters are real.
The blu-ray transfer ensures that the effort put into the film doesn't go to waste, and everything is presented in crystal clarity. With no crushing that I noticed, the blacks are deep and offer solid contrast to everything else on the screen. It's to the point, that even in darker scenes (like when they're in a tunnel) you can see individual strands of hair on the apes.
The sound is also given good attention, with proper priority given to dialog. The action scenes never overpower, while the quiet moments (much of the Ape interaction is still silent and through sign language) are filled with the right ambient noises to still feel immersive. From a technical standpoint, the blu-ray transfer does everything right to highlight a great film.
War for the Planet of the Apes comes loaded with these special features on the disc:
Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by Matt Reeves:
“I Owe You One”
“A Great Man”
“Do Not Lose Hope”
The Colonel’s Speech
Malcolm and the Dinosaurs
“I Am Like Koba”
“Waging War for the Planet of the Apes” – In-depth documentary on the making of WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
“All About Caesar”
“WETA: Pushing Boundaries”
“Music for Apes”
“Apes: The Meaning of it All”
“The Apes Saga: An Homage”
Concept Art Gallery
Audio Commentary by Matt Reeves
There’s a lot to love in the special features, with the deleted scenes showing off some other engaging character moments (though the timing makes it clear why they were ultimately cut). Personally speaking, however, the best part of the bonus features are the making of documentaries.
These offer up a very in depth look at how this film came to be, and the ever evolving technology used to make the apes feel like real characters. There’s also a look at some of the connections between this film and the older Planet of the Apes films, and generally how everything fits together in the franchise.
In all, there are plenty of neat treats for film lovers and Planet of the Apes fans to enjoy within the special features, adding yet more value to an already incredible movie.