‘Planet of the Apes’ saga that never disappoints in visual appeal : The Tribune India

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‘Planet of the Apes’ saga that never disappoints in visual appeal

‘Planet of the Apes’ saga that never disappoints in visual appeal

The animal characters come to life in splendid fashion.

Film: ingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Director: Wes Ball

Cast: Owen Teague, Freya Allan, Peter Macon, William H Macy, Kevin Durand and Dichen Lachman

Johnson Thomas

Disney’s attempt to keep a good thing going has resulted in the resurrection of a franchise which ended with the culmination of a new trilogy in 2017’s ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’.

Caesar’s shadow follows this new inception as part of continuation of the post-apocalyptic ‘Apes versus humans’ saga set “many generations” after the aforementioned lead character’s exit. He still appears to have a strong influence on a brand new generation of Apes that have long since achieved ascendancy over a motley group of surviving scavenging humans, who still think they have a chance to regain lost glory following a virus infection that wiped out most of the humans and gave Apes superior abilities.

Noa (Owen Teague), a member of the peaceful Eagle Clan, has to perform a coming-of-age ritual along with friends Soona (Lydia Peckham) and Anaya (Travis Jeffery). But when the Eagle egg that he collects gets destroyed, he goes on a solo adventure and finds himself caught up in the devastation wrought by villainous Apes loyal to Proximus (Kevin Durand). Proximus has already declared himself as the generational successor to Caesar’s crown while perverting the teachings of Caesar to enslave others. While escaping, Noa meets Raka (Peter Macon), a wise orangutan, and Mae (Freya Allen), a human on the hunt for her own kind. The trio form an alliance that gets broken when they cross dangerous terrain, and the survivors are eventually pulled into enslavement in Proximus’ kingdom by the sea.

The screenplay has some telling moments and there’s stunning power in some of the action beats. Wes Ball’s film, though, concerns itself mostly with world-building. The director’s attempt to scale up the visuals becomes detrimental to the entertainment value. The second half gets a little repetitive in its encounters, the clarity gets doused for a brief bit and the mood becomes rather shaky. The narrative needed to have more pace to generate some adrenaline rushes — which it fails to do at a consistent level.

Wes Ball’s newbie feature is visually outstanding, with exceptional motion capture performance work that makes the animal characters come to life in splendid fashion. Though the narrative here doesn’t tackle any new existential questions arising out of the latest conceptual story arc, the cinematic appeal is unquestionable. The tempo may be a bit slackening and the narrative is not as gripping or edgy enough to be completely gravitating, though. To add to that, this issue is by far the longest chapter of the entire ‘Planet of the Apes’ franchise.

The technical achievements here are unparalleled. The animals are loaded with behaviours and reactions that sustain reality and the voice work adds weight to that fantasy. This opener for a renewed franchise series is fascinating enough to lure you into the theatres.