After a deadly confrontation with an army led by a crazed Colonel (Woody Harrelson) results in tragedy, ape leader Caesar (Andy Serkis) sets out in search of revenge. His quest uncovers the Colonel's encampment where captured apes are being used as slave labor for an unknown project. When the enemies meet, a battle ensues that could decide the future of both species and the planet.

This third chapter in the rebooted series is the darkest and most emotional to date. Motion-capture performances bring the CGI characters to life with
many extreme closeups. The facial features are so realistic and expressive that audiences will have as much feelings for the simians as they do for the humans - maybe even more so. Once again, Andy Serkis makes Caesar the one to root for. With most of the film focusing on him, Serkis is outstanding in a role that deserves award attention. A movie like this wouldn't work without a villain to hate. Woody Harrelson fleshes out his character to perfection. He makes it easy to despise the Colonel, but adds a spark of humanity that reveals the reason behind his madness. Other cast members take a back seat to these two impressive performances. Among the new additions are Amiah Miller as Nova, a young human girl who joins the quest, and Steve Zahn as Bad Ape, a former zoo chimpanzee who lightens up the drama. Toby Kebbell returns briefly as Koba, the deceased adversary who haunts Caesar's dreams. Director/Co-writer Matt Reeves ("Dawn of the Planet of the Apes") deftly blends action and drama with some absolutely heartbreaking moments. Composer Michael Giacchino ("Dawn of the Planet of the Apes") delivers another magnificent pulse-pounding score. Recalling great war films like "The Bridge on the River Kwai" and "The Great Escape", this adventure stands on its own and is relevant for today's climate. Be prepared to shed a few tears. Swinging into theaters, "War for the Planet of the Apes" is thought-provoking escapism. (4 CAMS)

Rated PG-13 (sequences of sci-fi violence and action, thematic elements, and some disturbing images)
Running Time: 140 minutes

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