Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes – REVIEW

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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes - 4th film in the franchise reboot

The revitalized Planet of the Apes films were that rare thing in franchises – films that maintained a uniform standard of quality and so a fourth film might have audiences approaching this latest film with trepidation about maintaining the standard. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes picks up several hundred years later or ‘many generations’ as the film would have it meaning that we’re moving ever close to 3978 when the original Charlton Heston film was set.

Caesar, the leader of the apes from the original trilogy, is long dead and the apes have split into clans and humans are few and far between and ultimately in hiding from Proximus (Kevin Durand) a brutal ruler who presides over a clan where he has enslaved other clans in his bidding to open a sealed vault that he believes holds a key to ultimate power over all other apes and any remaining humans too.

Drawn into this is Noa (Owen Teague) part of the Eagle Clan (as they collect and train eagles) whose father was killed by Proximus’ troops in a raid that saw many killed or kidnapped and their camp razed to the ground. Noa has managed to escape and hides out in the wilds where he bands together with Raka (Peter Macon) an ape wise beyond his years and also with a lone woman Mae (Freya Allan) who has her own objective.

As with the three previous films there’s more themes going on than meets the eye which is laid out when a character comments about the challenge of human and ape living together – a concern that must be one for  Gemma Collins current boyfriend too. The apes themselves have both evolved and regressed – some are progressive in their thinking whilst Proximus falls back on brute force in his quest for absolute power. The CGI is as good as ever with the actor’s motion captured ape faces to the expected high level of photo realism. It’s not without its issues – it is far too long, Freya Allen is somewhat anaemic and and for apes that have swiftly evolved over a few hundred years many still don’t have a full command of speech with Proximus’ clan whooping & grunting like a Wayne Rooney family reunion. And the fact that hundreds of years after apes have taken over the earth there is still technology, notably radio telescopes, that works.

Both Dawn and War (of the Planet of the Apes) set the bar so high that it has given Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes an almost impossible task to match let alone beat but it’s still a decent enough addition to one of the best franchises in recent years.

related feature : War for the Planet of the Apes – REVIEW

related feature : Freya Allan talks Baghead horror, stunts and sequels

Here’s the trailer…….

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