A Victory for the Apes: War for Planet of the Apes Review

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The Planet of the Apes series has been in my life for as long as I can remember, perhaps even longer than Star Wars. I do admit at the age of three, however, to being traumatized by the costumes, but most would be too if they saw a talking ape at that age, right? It was a short-lived fear, and today I even call myself a fan of the franchise, introduced to me by my father, who single-handily sparked my interest in all things fantasy and science fiction.

This new series of Planet of the Apes films, which began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) is once again quite far from the 1963 novel by Pierre Boulle, and can more be considered as a very loose adaptation of the original Planet of the Apes film from 1968. In fact, I would go even further and say it’s a reinterpretation, not an adaptation, because an adaptation to me implies the taking of something from one medium and trying to replicate it in another. War for the Planet of the Apes, along with its two previous parts are not trying to adapt either the original films or the book, but they give a respectable nod to both and establish themselves as their own story using the existing mythology.

Perhaps one of the largest changes in the films is the Simian Flu, which is seen as the catalyst for humanity’s end and what causes the apes to become intelligent. In the original novel, and even nodded to in the older films, it is evolution which is the factor that allows for apes to become more intelligent and humans to de-evolve simply because they become lazy. In other words, they don’t use it, so they lose, which is the reason for their lack of intelligence and speech. In this newest film, the lack of speech is attributed to the Simian Flu mutating and starting to afflict the survivors.

Familiar names and quotes were woven throughout the films as well, which made for great Easter eggs. The young girl who cannot speak for example in the film is named Nova after the Chevy Nova sign by the orangutang Maurice (who is actually named after the actor Maurice Evans, who played Doctor Zaius in the 1968 film). The scene in which the girl is given her name is also the first in which we hear Maurice speak, and the lines he says are the same iconic ones spoken by Taylor in the original film when he names his own mute female companion Nova. There are many other examples I could name and talk about, but for those who are eager to see the film, I won’t divulge much more. I do encourage fans of the series to see the film and if you haven’t yet to watch the other two, you won’t be disappointed. This one was a victory for the apes.