Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes Isn't Kidding with That "Ape-Pocalypse Now" Joke | Arts
Arts
INDY Week's arts blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on

Friday, July 14, 2017

Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes Isn't Kidding with That "Ape-Pocalypse Now" Joke

Posted by Google on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 5:02 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
  • photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
War for the Planet of the Apes
★★★★
Now playing

The war for the planet of the apes is seemingly fought on two fronts. On one side is the troop of freedom-fighting primates still led by their hyper-intelligent leader, Caesar (Andy Serkis). On the other is an unseen but approaching human army, temporarily tasked with terminating one of their own, with extreme prejudice.

In the middle is a colonel (Woody Harrelson) whose name tape reads McCullough, but who may as well be called Kurtz. The bald colonel speaks in messianic riddles, controlling his renegade paramilitary faction, named Alpha-Omega, through fear and fevered enlightenment about the future of mankind now that the Simian Flu has mutated, robbing humans of their cognitive and communicative essence rather than just their existence.

The conspicuous phrase scrawled on a tunnel wall beneath the colonel’s compound says it all: “Ape-pocalypse Now.” The similarities between Harrelson and Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now aren’t coincidental, nor are the parallels between the forest-dwelling simians and the Viet Cong—soldiers even nickname the apes “the Kong.”

While the colonel’s methods are cruel and detestable, they’re also the prescient product of what the colonel sees as the only way to preserve humanity and prevent a planet of apes. “This is a holy war,” the colonel says, and he fortifies his compound/concentration camp using enslaved apes and turncoat gorillas—derisively nicknamed “donkeys” by the humans—to erect a border wall.

The overarching metaphor across this Planet of the Apes reboot trilogy is Caesar as Moses, an orphan who rebels against his adopted family and becomes a leader of his birth tribe, along the way prescribing a set of governing commandments, e.g., “Ape shall not kill ape.” In War, Caesar must free his “people” from bondage so they can embark on a desert trek to a new homeland, whether Caesar makes it there or not.

However, the real war is the battle for Caesar's soul, a struggle between Old Testament-style wrath and New Testament-style redemption. An unspeakable loss fuels Caesar’s quest for revenge against the colonel, who epitomizes man’s heart of darkness, if you will. The counterpoint is a mute orphan who Caesar and his benevolent adviser Maurice adopt, an innocent whose Chevy-inspired given name represents the first apparent tie-in to the original 1968 Planet of the Apes.

While she represents the elusive hope for peaceful coexistence, she is also a harbinger of human subservience. Caesar may find his salvation, but the gorilla warfare isn’t over.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Arts



Twitter Activity

Comments

Here's a shout-out to the dancers and musicians of The Bipeds who are not mentioned by name in this article. …

by The Bipeds on Dance Review: The Many Moving Parts of The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words Don't Always Perfectly Mesh. But When They Do, It's Spectacular. (Arts)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

Here's a shout-out to the dancers and musicians of The Bipeds who are not mentioned by name in this article. …

by The Bipeds on Dance Review: The Many Moving Parts of The Bipeds' 54 Strange Words Don't Always Perfectly Mesh. But When They Do, It's Spectacular. (Arts)

You probably want to refrain from using ableist language.

by vidvis on ADF Review: Pilobolus's Crowd-Pleasing Dance Is Apolitical. Unfortunately, the World It Inhabits Is Not. (Arts)

I love stories like this.

by JoeJoey on A Villain Burglarized All Three Ultimate Comics Stores Last Night (Arts)

Mr. Woods must have seen a very different production than the one I saw or perhaps he was having an …

by Amy Ginsburg on Theater Review: Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's Songs Can't Quite Shine Through a Patchy Production of Spring Awakening (Arts)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation