Okay, so after a week-and-a-half of delays, I’m back, for the love all things good and great. (And no, I’m not telling you what caused the holdup. That’s between me and my housemates.) I’ve wasted enough time, so let’s get to it.
The story here is very well-realized and executed, with a huge scope, despite being “confined” to a single area of the country, and real weight to what’s going on. This is also one of the darkest movies to achieve “blockbuster film” status since “The Dark Knight.” (Didn’t forget about “Rises,” but whatever you think of that film, it’s not what you’d call “as dark as can be,” like its predecessor.) The amount of philosophical discussions to possibly be gained from this movie is about as high as it can go, as well. The story also has the benefit of small things that don’t add up in the moment making sense in the grand picture, and what few things that truly don’t add up being small things that you’d only notice on repeat viewings. (Plus, the fact that three years later, I’m still shocked that Koba turned on Caesar should tell you something.)
Story Grade: 100% (A+)
This is an area that doesn’t have as much success as the other parts. The human characters aren’t uninteresting, but there’s not as much to their characterizations as there ideally should be. (I mean, Carver not trusting apes even in the face of the full picture of what actually happened in the lab might be possible in any other context than the one presented in the story, but that’s just my perspective.) Where the movie shines the best, though, is developing the apes as characters, with Caesar’s hesitance to pass judgement being a major problem, and Koba having an understandable reason for doing what he does. (Not justifiable, just understandable.) Maurice is also shown to be as docile as an ape in these movies can be, finally establishing a clear character for him, specifically. In the end, not quite as a success as the story, but still enough to earn a cool…
Characterization Grade: 92% (A-)
The dialogue between the apes is well-written (both sign and spoken), and the sense of dread to the whole movie is complimented by the dialogue between the human characters, as well. What else is there to say?
Script Grade: 95% (A)
Matt Reeves sure knows how to direct a great action movie, and his penchant for cinematic art (which I hear played a big part in the making of “War”) shines through. This area is part of why the movie is such a tangible improvement over “Rise,” which had one weak area, that being direction.
Direction Grade: 100% (A+)
The motion capture actors are great, as per expected, and how can I dislike the humans when they’re Gary Oldman (even if he’s kind of a… insert swear word here) and Keri Russell? (I’m not familiar with Jason Clarke, but he’s good.)
Acting Grade: 95% (A)
The assault on the city is quite a sight to behold, and the final fight between Caesar and Koba is legitimately exciting, with the fact that you care about what’s happening, again, being a huge bonus.
Action Grade: 100% (A+)
This might be one of the best-executed movies I’ve ever seen. The motion capture is great, the overall imagery is great, and everything seems to be running like a well-oiled machine. (In fact, I’d be very surprised to find out that there were any major problems with production at all.)
Execution Grade: 100% (A+)
This movie has all of this, but it also has the “it” I mentioned in my “King Kong” review, the “it” that makes me know that this movie is one of my favorites. I can’t tell you the exact spot, but it’s easily among all of them. Anyway, what’s my grade?
Final Grade: 90% (A-)
Personal Final Grade (For What That Means, Go Back to My “Rise” Review): 96% (A)
Well, that’s two out of three films in the reboot series reviewed. Look for my review of “War for the Planet of the Apes” tomorrow. See you then!