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Updated: Jun 11

This relaunch of The Planet of the Apes series adds a solid branch to the franchise tree.

Aiming to be at least another three-parter – building on the success of the well-liked trilogy from 2011-17 – this proves to be an impressive opener from The Maze Runner director Wes Ball.

It may come a tad below the previous three films in terms of overall storyline and spectacle, but that’s because this lays noteworthy methodical foundations for further entries.

And once again the computer-generated imagery of the talking apes – particularly facial expressions – is simply sensational.

Set many years (approximately 300) after Caesar’s death since the last trilogy-capper ‘War’, apes have established numerous clans by becoming the dominant species on the planet, while humans have gone careering back to the ‘Stone Age’ – by widely turning feral.

This story is centred around Noa (IT’s Owen Teague), an elder chimpanzee hunter – and future heir to his peaceful falconry-training ape clan – whose world is soon turned upside down when another group of ferocious masked primates attack his homestead, leaving his father killed, and himself knocked unconscious, presumed dead.

When he comes around, he attempts to track the rest of his kidnapped ‘family’, befriending wise orangutan Raka (Peter Macon) – who is the last surviving of a group dedicated to Caesar’s legendary teachings – along the way.

They then inadvertently pick up young female human scavenger Mae (The Witcher’s Freya Allen) – who surprises them with her ability to speak – who has her own agenda with the apes that raided Noa’s tribe.

This leads them to a massive primate coastal ‘kingdom’ controlled by ambitious bonobo monarch Proximus Caesar (Robin Hood’s Kevin Durand) – with William H Macy’s (Boogie Nights) opportunist human Trevathan by his side – where he has enslaved apes to help him break into a sealed military vault that houses human technology. If opened this will give him access to a stockpile of weaponry to help him further reinforce his dominance over the immediate territory.

But when Noa realises that Mae has knowledge of this installation, they aim to get access to it before Proximus, so they can use the stash for themselves to free the clan.

With its straightforward ‘A to B’ storytelling this adventure competently pieces together to lay the groundwork for what lies ahead – with one or two curveballs thrown in – without the runtime ever being a slog.

It doesn’t quite move the cinematic ‘needle’ to ever really get out of third gear very often, but with likeable characters, this is generally compelling stuff which most fans of the previous trilogy should lap up.

And as a spectacle alone, this definitely ‘swings’ in the right direction – to whet the appetite for what lies ahead on this Planet of the Apes.


Rating: 3.5/5


Gavin Miller

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now

Cast: Owen Teague, Freya Allen, Kevin Durand, Peter Macon, Lydia Peckham, Travis Jeffery, Eka Darville, Neil Sandilands, Sara Wiseman & William H Macy

Running Time: 2 Hrs 25 Mins

Director: Wes Ball


Go to for all the latest film information & showtimes at Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema De Lux


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