After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.
Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, and Steve Zahn
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Written by: Mark Bomback, and Matt Reeves
So many remakes fail to live up to the original, but so far this new Planet of the Apes series has held its own. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” were terrific movies for many of the same reasons. They're so terrific, each movie got 5 pools of blood from me, and that’s not something that happens often. So could “War for the Planet of the Apes” complete the trifecta, and get 5 pools of blood as well?
As reminded in the opening, the events in those movies have all led to this war. The beginning also reminds audiences how brutal war can be. There’s a quick, but intense battle between the humans and apes in which many lives are lost. Soon enough Caesar (Andy Serkis) makes his appearance, and is very much the same old Caesar. However, that quickly changes and his story becomes even more fascinating. Caesar begins changing into his old rival Koba (Toby Kebbell), and fights with this demon inside him the entire time. For the first time, both apes and the audience have doubts in what Caesar is doing.
Koba might be Caesar’s personal demon, but he has some familiar faces by his side in Maurice (Karin Konoval) and Rocket (Terry Notary). The audience knows what to expect from them, but it’s some of the new faces that are a welcome addition to the story. First, there’s Nova (Amiah Miller), who’s a young girl that quickly bonds with the apes. She can’t speak, and that may trigger a connection to the original movie for some. And then there’s the comic relief, Bad Ape (Steve Zahn). He’s unlike any ape to date, and his humor is welcomed in such an emotional movie.
Speaking of emotions, one of the beautiful things about all three of these movies is how they pull at the emotions of the audience. As mentioned, just watching Caesar struggle like he’s never struggled before is tough. It’s even tougher watching him when he knows he’s let his fellow apes down after doing so much for them. Then there are moments like Nova bringing water to Caesar, or placing a flower on a dying ape. Hell, an argument for sympathy towards The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) can be made even after all of the bad things he’s done.
The emotional rollercoaster leads to an amazing final act. It’s do or die time for the apes and humans. As expected, Caesar steps up, and puts his life on the line for the apes. He’s also still motivated by revenge, but the world has a twist of fate for his plan. When the intense battle seems to be over, another avalanche of a surprise drops, and changes the landscape in the war for the planet of the apes.
For those who haven’t seen the original series, you might be missing out on what makes this trilogy truly special. They’ve just done a fabulous job of retelling this story from different angles, while leading to the same end point. It’s great being able to see Caesar become the iconic figure to apes, and this time really facing personal demons. It’s just another of the many continuous comparisons between humans and apes the series makes. While fighting for the planet, they fail to realize how alike they really are. This movie might be more emotional then the others, which is helped with the addition of Nova. Again for those who have seen the original series, the ending should be satisfying, and make you look forward to the what should happen next. So as you might have expected by now, yes the trifecta is complete because I’m giving “War for the Planet of the Apes” 5 pools of blood.
A teenage girl discovers a box that carries magic powers and a deadly price for using them.
Starring: Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, and Ki Hong Lee
Directed by: John R. Leonetti
Written by: Barbara Marshall
Clare (Joey King) is a teenager who is already struggling at life. Her mother passed away when she was little, and her life in high school isn’t going so well. On top of that, she’s continually embarrassed by her father, Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe). If only a girl had something she could “Wish Upon” to make her troubles go away!
Well, she’s in luck because her father just gave her the best early birthday present ever. What appears to be just a cool looking box, is apparently a box that grants wishes. After her first couple of wishes, she slowly realizes that they’re actually coming true, and is benefitting from them. As the audience might expect, she wishes for many of her struggles to go away in one way or the other.
While suddenly living the good life, she fails to make the connection between the people passing away around her, and the wishes. The box has some deadly warnings on it, that unfortunately she doesn’t get translated until it’s too late. As for these deaths, there’s actually a couple of them that would have been nice to see in full effect. Unfortunately, the movie is PG-13 so either the deaths lack blood, are too dark to see, or are cut away as it happens.
Really, the movie couldn’t be any more directed towards the teenage audience. Not only with the deaths, but the story is meant for them. Many of them will be able to relate to what Clare goes through, or maybe with some of the characters around her. On top of that, they probably won’t realize the subpar acting, including a lack luster performance from an experienced actor like Ryan Phillippe.
It won’t take long for older horror fans to realize that the deaths in “Wish Upon” play out a lot like those in the Final Destination franchise. While the suspense is there, the deaths are more like Final Destination lite. While the movie tries to pull surprises, it fails for anyone actually paying attention, and even ends as expected. Basically, if you’re a teenage horror fan, go enjoy the movie. For those that actually want to see a death scene play out in full, forget about it! With that, my wish is to give this movie 1 pool of blood.