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Movies & TV

23rd Dec 2017

The Top Ten Movies of 2017 – #09 – War For The Planet Of The Apes

Rory Cashin

“I did not start this war. But I will finish it.”

Welcome to JOE’s countdown of the Ten Best Movies of 2017. We’ll be counting them down one-by-one, with the #1 spot revealed on New Year’s Eve.

The #09 spot goes to… WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

Irish Release Date: 11 July

Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer.

Director: Matt Reeves

Budget: $150 million

Worldwide Box Office: $491 million

It doesn’t surprise JOE that WFTPOTA didn’t do as well as Dawn did (which banked $710 million at the box office), and just barely made more than the good-but-not-great Rise ($482 million). War is not an easy watch. It is a movie that forces the viewer to place humans as the villains, and support the apes into surviving a war which will result in one of the battling species to be killed off forever.

On top of that, the disease that had initially spread in Rise has continued to mutate throughout the trilogy, and in War it has manifested into a kind of sickening brain fever that kills the victims is quite a harsh way.

All in all, War For The Planet Of The Apes isn’t exactly what you’d call an entertaining watch. But, oh boy, does it set your mind alight as it plays out.

Clip via 20th Century Fox

Andy Serkis’ performance in this trilogy is nothing short of phenomenal, matched by the so-good-you-forget-they’re-there special effects, that will have you fully emotionally invested in the sign language conversation between two apes as they plan to break their brothers-in-chains out of a snowy Ape-katraz.

Woody Harrelson also deserves props for his all-too-understand human “villain”, a man who is simply trying to keep his race alive, and willing to do literally anything to make that happen, which in this case includes losing access to his own basic humanity.

Far less of a brainless popcorn flick like Rise was, and with less of the fun action beats that Dawn possessed, instead we get War kicking off with a nail-biting, heart-breaking cloak-and-dagger assassination attempt, and Serkis’ Caesar going on a road of revenge that will lead him down the same inhumane path that he hates the human leaders for.

Director Matt Reeves, who turned the franchise into a new, better direction with Dawn, continues down that road for War, not afraid to get artistic and beautifully cinematic in place of just another series of explosions, and he gives the Planet Of The Apes trilogy the proper send off it deserves.

For further reading on our end of year list, check out the following:

LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge