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Apes Ascend: “Kingdom of The Planet of The Apes” Relaunches the Iconic Sci-Fi Spectacle

Apes Ascend: “Kingdom of The Planet of The Apes” Relaunches the Iconic Sci-Fi Spectacle

Does “Kingdom Of The Planet of The Apes” hold up?

 

 

Kingdom of The Planet of The Apes steps onto the scene with a weight of expectation on its shoulders. Positioned as a soft reboot and potentially the inaugural chapter of a fresh trilogy, the film must carve out its niche in the ever-evolving landscape of cinema.

 

Planet of the Apes has long been regarded as one of cinema’s most iconic sci-fi masterpieces that seeks to make commentary on just how futile our existence as humans is, especially in a world filled with a larger number of living species waiting for their turn on top of the food chain. What makes humans superior and dominant? That is the question that this franchise wants us to ask. And it’s clear from Wes Ball—the film’s director—that his vision is for us to keep asking that question.

 

Apes Ascend: “Kingdom of The Planet of The Apes” Relaunches the Iconic Sci-Fi Spectacle

 

Kingdom of The Planet of The Apes must navigate the treacherous terrain of audience expectations while injecting fresh vitality into the storyline. Against the backdrop of today's cultural landscape, the film confronts timely themes and societal dilemmas. With the world undergoing seismic shifts, the film serves as a mirror, reflecting the anxieties and aspirations of its audience.

 

 

The film puts us in the perspective of Noa (Owen Teagueas) as he grapples with the weight of his heritage as the son of The Eagle Tribe's elder. Determined to carve his own path and earn his family's pride, he eagerly anticipates their defining eagle bonding ceremony. However, tragedy strikes when the ruthless conqueror ape, Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand), attacks Noa’s tribe and kidnaps his family and neighbors for reasons unknown to him at the time.

 

 

Noa must make a life changing voyage through uncharted lands in order to bring his tribe back home. Along the way, he teams up with wise Orangutan, Raka (Peter Macon) and the strange human Mae (The Witcher’s Freya Allen), who they named Nova (a pleasing Easter egg for fans of the previous trilogy). 

 

As they traverse the wilderness together, bound by necessity rather than choice, Noa and Mae forge an unlikely camaraderie. It is with this forced companionship that Noa and Mae get to know about each other and the species they represent and belong to. They get to confront the complexities of their respective species and discover the depths of their own characters. Their journey becomes a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the bonds that transcend species boundaries.

 

Apes Ascend: “Kingdom of The Planet of The Apes” Relaunches the Iconic Sci-Fi Spectacle

 

With a 145-minute run time, this film demands patience and a steadfast attention span. The initial acts are laden with intricate world-building dialogue and exposition—a slow burn that may test the endurance of some viewers. Yet, the investment pays off handsomely in the gripping third act, which delivers a satisfying climax and sets the stage for a broader narrative arc.

 

One cannot overlook the staggering advancements in visual effects since the inception of the Apes franchise. With the Academy Award Nominated Erik Winquist—best known for his work in 2009’s Avatar and 2022’s Doctor Strange and The Multiverse of Madness—serving as the film’s Visual Effects Supervisor, every character, rendered with remarkable realism, seamlessly blends into the post-apocalyptic landscape, immersing the audience in the meticulously crafted world of Kingdom of The Planet of The Apes.

 

It is hard to tackle the themes of the film without spoiling the plot and twists of the story; but what can be said is that the message, although hidden deep in subtext, is very poignant and relevant for our times. Those who keep up to date with the current state of the world will see this by the end of the film. Lessons to be taken from here on the other hand is that compassion should be innate, ingrained and a bare minimum for human beings. It does not take a lot to choose compassion over aggression against one’s own kind. 

 

Overall, Kingdom of The Planet of The Apes is a glorious and welcome addition to the annals of the Apes cannon. Paying homage to its predecessors while charting a course for an enthralling new chapter. If this film is but a taste of what lies ahead in the Apes universe, then consider me ravenous for the main course. 

 

Oh, and don’t forget to greet your fellow man to “Have A Wonderful Day!”

 

“Kingdom of The Planet of The Apes” is out now in theaters. 

 

 

Words Charles Boswell

Art Alexandra Lara

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