Reviewed by: Justin C. Rose
the awfulness of CRUELTY—both physical and mental—and its terrible, lasting consequences
hate / hatred
compare to Biblical LOVE
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with sin, oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer
self-sacrifice to save others
highly infectious viral diseases / pandemics / plagues
“Apes” in the Bible
EVOLUTIONISM—Does DNA similarity between chimps and humans PROVE a common ancestry? Answer
EVOLUTIONISM—Who’s who and what’s what in the world of “missing” links? Are the “missing links” really missing? Answer
Is there fossil evidence of “missing links” between humans and apes? Answer
A detailed report paleontologist Marvin Lubenow, Ph.D.
What was the FIRST MAN, really like? Answer
WAR—What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer
Toby Kebbell … Koba
Andy Serkis … Caesar
Judy Greer … Cornelia
Woody Harrelson … Colonel
Steve Zahn … Bad Ape
Amiah Miller … Nova
Ty Olsson … Rex
Sara Canning …
Terry Notary … Rocket
Max Lloyd-Jones … Blue Eyes
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|Director:||Matt Reeves—“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2014)|
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|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation|
“For freedom. For family. For the planet.”
“War has… begun.” —Caesar
It all started with an attempt to cure Alzheimer’s, but it turned into a war for planet Earth. Caesar (Andy Serkis) was an ape that was born with a chemical inside that helped him grow in intelligence, but once humans found out about him, he became an outcast, living in a primate shelter among other apes. He released the same chemical he was born with to his new ape friends, and they became intelligent and escaped into the forests. Unbeknownst to them, a disease brought out by the chemical produced a worldwide epidemic killing millions.
Ten years later, Caesar meets some of the last remaining humans and seeks to help them live in their post-apocalyptic world, but Koba (Toby Kebbell) wanted to be rid of the humans. Koba launched a war on the humans, and the great battle between man and ape began.
Two years later, the apes are hunted by an army. This movie is about that hunt and the abduction of a king and his people.
The film opens with a human attack on an ape fortress, but the humans are immediately attacked by reinforcements, and all are killed, except four. These four are taken to Caesar, including a gorilla whose loyalty is to the humans and against Caesar (apes and gorillas who do this are known as “donkeys”). Caesar allows them to leave, but with a message for the human leader, “Leave us the woods, and the killing can stop.”
Caesar returns home to his wife and two sons (the baby is named Cornelius, a nod to the original movie) and all seems peaceful.
That night, humans with guns sneak around the apes’ camp. All but the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) of the human army escapes immediately after taking the life of Caesar’s wife and firstborn child. This is what begins Caesar’s journey of hate for humankind and especially for the Colonel who took his loved ones away from him.
From a production standpoint, it is a very well-made film. The first film of this trilogy (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) had CGI that, throughout, looked cartoony. The second film (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”) had much better CGI, but you could still see at times that the characters were not looking right. This time, the CGI is beautiful, and it is tremendous how real the characters look.
The writing is excellent. All the apes, except for Caesar, typically use sign language to speak which is a brilliant idea to make most of the dialog in a film sign language and subtitles.
Andy Serkis’ acting in this movie is amazing. Some might remember him as Gollum from Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” series. Many might think that Caesar is just animated in this movie, emotions and everything. On the contrary. Serkis is standing where Caesar is standing for most of this movie, and the emotion you see on the CGI Caesar is taken directly from Andy Serkis’ face and body, through very advanced motion capture. Serkis is the reason I love this character, and why I feel for this character. In my mind, this is an Oscar worthy performance.
Lust for REVENGE leads to more pain and suffering.
Positive messages against hate and revenge, and for family, self-sacrifice, and even humanity are told through the story. Caesar’s biggest flaw is his hatred of humans and his desire for revenge against the man who murdered his family, but it is eventually resolved in a brilliant way. He also shows sacrifice for his people, who are taken into captivity. More than one critic has equated his acts with the story of Moses, and I will not deny that the similarities are pretty close. The difference being, one is an ape—saving other apes, and the other was one of God’s chosen men, leading God’s chosen people.
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” —Revelation 21:6
I am also concerned that the Colonel wears a very noticeable cross necklace, and in the background of his office hangs a cross symbol. He also calls his war with the apes a “holy war.” (see: Hypocrisy)
Humans are the antagonists in this film, except one. So, you are basically forced into rooting for the apes. That is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it is about as bad as rooting for an alien from outer space fighting a human (Superman and Lex Luthor). These particular humans are evil, but events later on show these are pretty much the only rotten humans.
This may be an odd thing to point out, but in these three movies, Evolution has never contributed to the apes becoming intelligent, however, in this one, Bad Ape (yes, that is his name, and he is played by Steve Zahn) never mentions having been exposed to the same chemicals Caesar and the other apes were exposed to make them smart. I am not sure if Bad Ape is supposed to be a product of Evolution or not, but it is worth pointing out.
There is a scene where excrement is thrown at a guard twice, as distraction.
VIOLENT CONTENT—Where to begin? The first word in the title of the movie is “War”. That pretty much sums up much of the movie. The very first scene is very violent. Humans fire guns at apes and throw grenades, sending dying apes flying. Humans are hit and killed by arrows. Later, Caesar views the carnage of his family after the battle. Piles of dead apes and many others are wounded (blood is visible).
Human soldiers who attack Caesar’s home are attacked and killed by apes in very violent ways. The death of Caesar’s wife and son is not shown, but their dead bodies are visible in the dark with puddles of blood surrounding them.
Caesar later shoots a human defective soldier in self-defense. We later see this man’s daughter(?) looking at his dead body.
Caesar and his friends find three bodies in the snow with blood coming from their chests. They take the men’s masks off, revealing the men had bloody noses, which hints at an unusal death (I will not spoil the reason for you). One of these men is still alive and cannot speak, his eyes plead Caesar to finish him off. Caesar does so, offscreen.
Caesar and his ape family are captured and forced to work at gunpoint. An elderly orangutan is whipped for messing up his job and shot by the Colonel in the head. The Colonel then points the gun at Caesar’s head. When given the chance Caesar, also points the same gun to the Colonel’s head.
Helicopters are blown from the sky, and apes fall all around. There is also an explosion which kills many humans. An ape is shot at point blank range by a crossbow, in the side, ***SPOILER*** and dies from his injury. ***END SPOILER***
INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE—The apes provide most of the dialog in this movie and, as mentioned earlier, they mostly speak with sign language and an unintelligible languag translated by subtitles. It is interesting to note that not one of them uses any profane or vulgar language. The humans, on the other hand, do have some coarse mouths. “H*ll” is misused twice, God’s name is misused once—twice with “d*mn—one of those is not audible, but if you are a lip reader you will catch it). Jesus Christ’s name is misused once (by the man who wears His symbol on his neck, go figure).
SEXUAL CONTENT—There’s no sex, and little nudity to mention—a shirtless male human, and apes who do not wear clothes (nothing offensive is visible). A female ape has visible nipples.
ALCOHOL OR DRUG CONTENT—The Colonel drinks what is presumed to be an alcoholic beverage from a flask and is later seen pouring an apparent alcoholic beverage bottle into that same flask.
When I first saw “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” I fell in love with these movies. I enjoy the action, the characters, and, most importantly, the emotional story it told with a interesting plot. Sure, the action is exciting, but if you have all this action, but no strong story or emotion to back it up, your movie is weak (somebody needs to tell that to Michael Bay).
I think the story of Caesar growing up to be a self-sacrificing leader and warrior defending his kind is inspiring. I know he is not a human protagonist, but the emotion he is given in each of these movies, especially this one, has drawn me in better than most Hollywood flicks with human protaganists. It is because the creators of these movies know that the best way to write a story is with emotion. Luke Skywalker’s story in the original Star Wars is told through emotion, as is Bruce Wayne’s story in the “Dark Knight.” Emotion is strong in this movie, and that is what got me invested in Caesar’s story.
If you have liked the previous two films, I expect you will really like this one. It is a well-made motion picture, with excellent special effects and complex drama. The negative content levels are not terrible, when compared to many other movies these days. Still, this is a war movie with a lot of violence and some disturbing images, and our Lord’s name is misused.
Violence: Very Heavy / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Minor
PLEASE PRAY for a change of heart in Andy Serkis, . He is a very talented actor and has been crucial to the success of these films, but he has rejected Jesus Christ in his life and placed his faith in Atheism and, without a turnaround, is headed, not for eternal life, but for God’s judgment on all unsaved sinners—eternal death. He has 3 children. According to Andy, both his parents are “staunch believers” in Christianity and are Catholics.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.