It may seem absurd, but I’m not monkeying around. The franchise update of “The Planet of the Apes” series that began in 2011 may be the best Hollywood franchise reboot ever. The third installment, “War for the Planet of the Apes,” is a visually spectacular and riveting drama that focuses on the ongoing confrontation between two species vying for world domination.
Director Matt Reeves uses special effects the way that they should be used, to help drive a compelling story. Andy Serkis, aided by the work of a crack team of computer animators, is terrific as Caesar, the intelligent chimpanzee who became the reluctant leader of the ape rebellion. When a human colonel, played by Woody Harrelson, kills his wife and young son, Caesar goes on quest for revenge.
Like all good sci-fi, there is depth to this story. It’s layered with sly social commentary and deals with themes that seem downright biblical. The only downside to this involving entry is its extensive length.
Apes may not really be intelligent, but the filmmakers behind “The War for the Planet of the Apes” know their audience is.
“Wish Upon” is the latest in a long line of horror movies to deal with the old trope, “Be careful what you wish for.” Joey King plays a teenager who gets an ancient Chinese wishing box and uses her wishes to gain riches and popularity. But, there is a dark price to pay. King is convincing and the film has a few shocks, but most ticket buyers will probably wish they had their money and 89 minutes back.
Also opening this week, “A Very Sordid Wedding” is the long-awaited sequel to the Southern-Fried comedy, “Sordid Lives.” “Band Aid” is a comedy about warring mates who try to save their marriage by forming a rock band. “The Tree” is a locally produced film about an elderly woman (Joicie Appell) who journeys from Wamego, Kansas to Terre Haute, Indiana to visit a childhood friend.