I remember reading a book by Professor Steve Peters. It talked about how there is a constant struggle for supremacy within our own minds between the human side of us, and our ‘chimp’, which represents our instincts. It was called the Chimp Paradox, and this third installment to the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise feels very much like it’s playing that theme out.
It has come down to this. Caesar and his apes are forced into a war with the last remaining human military faction led by a ruthless colonel (portrayed my Woody Harrelson) which will decide the dominant species on the planet.
Will Caesar’s – I use the term absurdly – ‘humanity’ finally be overcome by his rage at the wrath humans have brought his kind?
From what we see in the trailer, things don’t go so well for the apes and, Caesar, thus far having always sought the peaceful solution, takes on a darker persona and is shown actively attacking human soldiers. In fact, in the opening scene of the trailer there is a human child on the back of a horse ridden by an orangutan, and it seems as though Caesar is giving her a look of disdain. It is interesting that we see the sides mixed, with at least one human on the apes side and vice versa. Perhaps this is a hint that there is still hope for an understanding between the two species though, by the tone of the trailer, there are no other signs of compromise between the two sides. Will there be a definitive victor of this war?
We have Andy Serkis (who provides the voice of Caesar) giving the first half of the voice-over. The words that begin ‘I did not start this war…’ have a chilly ring of what happens when you back an animal into a corner. In the second half, we have Harrelson’s Colonel adding the words ‘the irony is, we created you’. At the same time we are shown a scene of him holding up a photo, presumably of his dead son — a possible personal motive for his determination to destroy the apes.
You can certainly feel the desperation of both sides spill over during the fraught battle scenes, in particular the one where Caesar apparently rams the butt of his rifle into the face of a defenseless soldier.
To stir a little fan theory, the trailer also shows the Colonel shaving his head, topless. Could this be some kind of symbolic gesture of his revulsion toward the apes?
I do also have to mention that we see Caesar hiding in a cave behind a waterfall which I did find, perhaps playfully, cliche.
In a seemingly penultimate scene we are shown Caesar in a showdown with the Colonel holding a gun to his head, apes with bows and arrows and a human army with rocket launchers and automatic guns. Is this teasing us about the possible conclusion of events or is this simply a run-up ruse?
For fans of the franchise it looks as though the high expectations the first two movies set could actually be met and, for anyone else, this trailer could be your call to watch the first two. Bring on Summer 2017!
War for the Planet of the Apes in Cinemas 14th July 2017