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Review: 'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes'

Edited by Sonious, GreenReaper as of 21:50
Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the fourth movie in the current continuity of the Planet of the Apes series of movies, and the tenth overall. It follows the adventures of intelligent chimp Noa (performed with motion capture technology by Owen Teague) some generations after the last movie, War for the Planet of the Apes. Directed by Wes Ball, it features a variety of apes, including gorillas and orangutans in addition to chimps (gibbons are also mentioned in passing).

It begins with a quick prologue to the funeral of Caesar, the ape protagonist of the previous trilogy of movies. I felt like those movies came to a definitive end with the last movie; Kingdom is less a direct sequel to War and more the start of a new story set in the same world, so it feels a bit like the proverbial cake that you can both have and eat, too, as far as previous trilogy endings are concerned.

Caesar, however, is still an important character, as he has become a bit of a religious figure, as a venerated ancient teacher of a way of living. Noa and his village seem unaware of Caesar, but he meets the monk-like orangutan Raka (performed by Peter Macon) and the wannabe emperor chimpanzee Proximus (performed by Kevin Durand), who have very different takes on Caesar’s teachings. When Raka says, “Apes together strong!” it is aspirational. When Proximus says it, it feels threatening (and then there's the real world mutation of that phrase).

Despite the science fiction trappings of the series, the movie feels like a fantasy epic. After the prologue, the story begins for real in Noa’s village, where peaceful chimpanzees are known as the Eagle Tribe, due to their skill at training golden eagles to help them. Of course, anyone familiar with fantasy as a genre knows that peaceful villages at the beginning of the story are unlikely to stay peaceful, or even intact, for very long. Chiefs get fancy tabards

Proximus’s marauders capture the village while searching for a rare human (known as "echoes" by Noa's tribe) who can speak, which was explained last movie (the virus that made apes intelligent also rendered humanity mute). Apes can now speak fluently, if a bit stiltedly, though they still also are fond of sign language, allowing them to communicate silently when they need to. Noa eventually meets and teams up with this human woman (Freya Allen), known only as Nova (in another call back to the last movie, Raka explains all humans are named Nova) at first. She’s on her own quest, which she keeps secret, but their goals align, so Noa and the human form an uneasy alliance.

Of the rebooted series, War for the Planet of the Apes is still the best, easily. I haven’t watched the other two recently enough, nor did I react to them strongly enough to remember where Kingdom would fall in a ranking. It aligns with them pretty well, though. It’s a decent movie worth watching that I’ll nevertheless probably have forgotten about in a few years.

Note: All the previous movies, including the Caesar trilogy, the original five movies and even the 2001 standalone reboot nobody really likes, are available on Disney+ in America.

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