War For The Planet Of The Apes
Published Date: 02/07/2017
The WAR rages on …
Director Matt Reeves and an all-star cast return in War For The Planet Of The Apes, the third and climactic chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster trilogy. War… pushes the series into new realms of legend-building as it explores the values that forge a civilisation. It all comes to life driven by the most complex and intense performance by Andy Serkis yet as the majestic Caesar, and ground-breaking visual effects from Weta Digital.
We’ve been fortunate enough to interview director Matt Reeves in the past and we are delighted that he has returned to helm the latest installment of the franchise. More than ever, Reeves realised, the trajectory of the apes mirrors the archetypal myths of humanity. “As this story starts, there is no more peace with humans, which thrusts Caesar into a deeply emotional, universal kind of conflict,” Reeves describes. “Caesar has always been unique in that he is part ape, part human, yet neither one fully. The hope has been that he might be able to bridge the two societies, but now it is clear that this will not come to pass. What’s so exciting is that in exploring Caesar’s internal dilemmas at this profound moment it becomes a chance to look at a battle we all know: the war between our intelligence, our empathy, and how that forms what defines our humanity. At the same time as this is a very dark journey, it is also a story with so much spirit in it.”
At the core of War… is the story not only of the coming of the decisive battle between the rapidly rising apes and desperately declining humans but also of a dark night of the soul for the apes’ noble leader, Caesar. He now faces his most perilous, legend-making moment, and an urgent moral dilemma, as he begins to mistrust his ape principles and any hope for peace with a human species that has wounded him in the deepest of ways. As the terror of war spreads to the heart of his own family, this is a Caesar at war with humans, but also with himself, one whose burning anger at the suffering he has seen must give way to a new vision if he is to take his kind forward and out of chaos.
“We put Caesar to the ultimate test in this film,” says Mark Bomback, who co-wrote the screenplay with Reeves. “Unfortunately for Caesar, that test is a harrowing one. The apes are in trouble and he understands they are going to have to really earn their spot as the dominant species on the planet.”
Adds Reeves: “Caesar is tested in ways we found thrilling and epic and really open the movie up. The scale of this movie is huge. As the apes leave Muir Woods, they encounter a larger world.”
As inspiration for the film’s panoramic scale and mythic atmosphere, Reeves re-watched many of cinema’s most sweeping, action-packed spectacles, from Kurosawa’s Samurai epics to Clint Eastwood Westerns - films with which War… shares a mix-mastering of conflict and comedy with themes of perseverance, sacrifice, allegiance, wilderness, heroism and questing through moral grey zones in times of dizzying uncertainty. “Part of the thrill of making these films is the opportunity to bring new technology and new forms of cinema to classical myths, creating something unique for these times,” Reeves explains.
Reprising the role for which he has drawn global acclaim, Andy Serkis takes the regal Caesar into the riskiest, most psychologically nuanced zones we have seen. Serkis is renowned also for bringing another digital character, Gollum, to life in the Lord of the Rings series – but never rested on those laurels.
He says that taking Caesar into a personal maelstrom – through pain and fire and surprise meetings to find his gravitas and nobility as a leader - in this film “has been the most rewarding acting challenge in my life.” Serkis adds: “To be able to play such a complex and complete character as Caesar all the way from infancy to this most profound juncture in his life as a leader has been incredible.”
For Reeves, Serkis brings something special at this momentous juncture of Caesar’s story. “Andy is simply one of the best, most soulful actors I have ever worked with,” says the director. “In this film he went to emotional extremes that were deeper and more painful than in the previous two, and it was astonishing to watch how far he pushed himself. Our working relationship is one of the joys of my life.”
And speaking of joy the early reviews have been nothing short of ecstatic and we simply cannot wait for the world created by Serkis, Reeves and their whole team to hit our screens here at Showcase.
War For The Planet Of The Apes opens at Showcase July 11
CLICK HERE to book tickets and to view trailer