At this point you have either seen the Planet of the Apes prequels, or you are not interested in seeing them, but here is the deal, they are way better than they have any right to be. War for the Planet of the Apes continues this trend, finishing the trilogy off perfectly. Though it makes no sense by itself, so if you haven’t watched Rise and Dawn yet, than you really need to because War is the best of the three. Somehow beating the curse of the third movie.
Since it is hard to review the third movie in a series were they all build on one another, I am instead going to use it to prove a point: For the most part there are no bad ideas. If someone a decade ago would have come up to me and told me that some of the most thoughtful and well constructed blockbusters of the next ten years would be prequels to the old Planet of the Apes movies, I would have laughed at you. What a terrible idea, but instead Rupert Wyatt (Director of Rise) and Matt Reeves (Director of Dawn and War) have created something wonderful. How? By working hard and elevating the material. Finding ways to explore humanity through the eyes of apes just gaining their sentience, continuing to find new and interesting ways to explore a being’s fight for survival, and the universal importance of family.
That can be true for all movies. Movies with terrible premises can teach us and entertain us in all sorts novel ways, while movies with the best setups can be utter bores, or slapdash in their execution. Wyatt and Reeves went the extra mile for movies that most people wouldn’t have given a second thought to, and they were fantastic and should be lauded for that. All this to say, that I am still not sure I would greenlight a Planet of the Apes prequel if I was sent back in time, but at least it is good to know there are people out there who can make an outrageous idea like that work. Plus, I am sure having Andy Serkis around always helps too.