May 9, 2024

REEL | Battle for the 'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes'

"Apes together strong."
Freya Allan Wes Ball | Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
20th Century Studios
The Maze Runner director Wes Ball takes over the durable Planet of the Apes series in a worthy but unnecessary extension of the simian-based franchise's mythology. Set several generations after Caesar's reign in the previous trilogy, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes manages to establish a relatively exciting new direction for the sci-fi action series that evolves the storyline into a biblical yarn involving a slave uprising against a tyrannical ape king.

In the central motioned-captured chimpanzee performance, Owen Teague portrays our new chimpanzee protagonist, Noa, a member of the Eagle Clan of apes who train birds as pets, as he discovers this new world beyond his protective enclave. Enter Freya Allan's Mae, a mysterious young woman and virtually the film's only real human character, whose appearance shakes up the ape hierarchy. What follows is an intriguing but uneasy back-and-forth relationship about just how much apes and humans can trust each other or coexist even with shared goals.

Scripted by veteran scribe Josh Friedman, Kingdom rarely reaches the complex emotional stakes of Matt Reeves' two excellent films, of which this is a direct sequel, but Ball's keen eye for visual storytelling and underplaying the simmering philosophical drama between his characters propel much of the new Planet of the Apes' intrigue forward.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes builds some great simian action with shades of historical religious wars and seeds the cyclical nature of humanity through its fleshed-out ape characters. However, once it firmly establishes an interesting direction, things veer into more conventional blockbuster fare while abandoning some of the compelling character motivations it so deliberately set up. It also sorely misses the heart Andy Serkis' expert digital performance brought the the cinematic table.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Polygon / ScreenCrush

0 reactions:

Post a Comment