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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Review | The Best Apes Yet

The Planet of the Apes movies have endured the test of time, and are now seeing a considerable resurgence thanks to the most recent trilogy of films. That prequel trilogy set the groundwork for what happened in the original films, and many wondered when the story of these modern movies would catch up to the original. Now, we have what seems to be the start of a new trilogy that may bridge the gap between the prequel trilogy and the original film. The first film up is Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

While the recent prequel trilogy took a much more serious look at the world of Planet of the Apes, Kingdom is considerably lighter in tone. It doesn’t get as goofy as Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, but the tone is a bit more in line with the somewhat comical nature of the original movies. There’s still a very serious tone in Kingdom, but you’ll smile a lot more watching this movie than you did watching the last three.

The new film takes place hundreds of years after the end of War for the Planet of the Apes. Memories of Caesar have been diluted over the years, making him more legend than ape. The virus has decimated humanity, making most of the humans unintelligent, completely reversing the roles between humans and apes. Kingdom respects the legacy of the last three films, but it’s very clearly making a direct connection to what will likely lead right into the original film (or a remake of it).

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, movie review, planet of the apes, Wes Ball

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is a very entertaining film. The VFX for the apes has been top notch since Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but it takes another step forward in Kingdom. Even in closeups the apes look virtually real. This is some of the best VFX we’ve seen in some time. While there are a few wonky animations here and there, especially when the apes are climbing or moving quickly, the attention to detail is mind-blowing.

Director Wes Ball and his team have taken the existing world set up in the previous films and cracked it open. The world building in Kingdom far surpasses that of the last three movies, without having to bury the audience in exposition. There’s still a bit of exposition, but it blends in well with the story of the film, engrossing the audience in what’s going on, instead of an off-kilter exposition dump.

The voice acting is also top notch. When combined with the incredible VFX, these apes come alive like never before. You care about what happens to the apes, and are fully invested in their story. You may even dislike the limited number of humans that show up. Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand), Raka (Peter Macon), and Noa (Owen Teague) stand out, but the entire cast brings their A-game.

In many ways, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the best film in the modern series. However, what holds it back is the fact that it doesn’t feel like a standalone movie. There’s a set beginning, middle, and end, but the end isn’t really the ending. There’s a lot more story to tell, and that’s very apparent as the credits roll. Kingdom feels like the beginning of something new, which is it, but not being a complete film is the only aspect of the movie that’s lacking.

About Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Synopsis: Many years after the reign of Caesar, a young ape goes on a journey that will lead him to question everything he’s been taught about the past and make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike.

Director: Wes Ball

Writers: Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver

Stars: Freya Allen, Kevin Durand, Dichen Lachman

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 2 Hours, 25 Minutes

Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.

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