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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes: A Detailed Film Review


"Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" is the latest installment in the iconic "Planet of the Apes" franchise, continuing the legacy of its predecessors with a compelling narrative, breathtaking visuals, and deep thematic exploration. Directed by Wes Ball, this film takes the series into new territory, both in terms of its story and its cinematic execution. As a long-time fan of the franchise, I approached this movie with high expectations and was not disappointed.

Plot Overview

Set several years after the events of "War for the Planet of the Apes," "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" explores the evolution of a new society where apes have become the dominant species on Earth. The remnants of humanity are scattered and struggling to survive in a world that has drastically changed. The film follows a young ape leader, Cornelius, as he navigates the challenges of maintaining peace within the ape society and dealing with the remaining human factions.

Cornelius, played by Andy Serkis with his usual mastery of motion capture, is a character torn between the peaceful ideals of his father, Caesar, and the harsh realities of a world still haunted by conflict. The film's narrative is rich with political intrigue, as different factions within the ape community vie for power and influence. Cornelius must balance these internal conflicts while addressing the external threat posed by desperate human survivors.

Thematic Exploration

One of the strengths of "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" is its deep thematic exploration. The film tackles issues of leadership, responsibility, and the ethical implications of power. Cornelius's journey is one of self-discovery and growth, as he learns what it means to be a true leader. The film also delves into the themes of coexistence and the potential for harmony between species, even in the face of profound differences and past grievances.

The film does not shy away from depicting the complexities of its world. The apes, though more advanced and organized than in previous films, are not a monolithic society. There are internal divisions and conflicts that reflect broader societal issues. This nuanced portrayal adds depth to the narrative and makes the characters' struggles more relatable and compelling.

Character Development

Cornelius is the heart of the film, and Andy Serkis's performance is nothing short of extraordinary. Serkis has long been the face of the "Planet of the Apes" series, and his portrayal of Cornelius is a testament to his ability to bring emotional depth and complexity to a character through motion capture. Cornelius is a multifaceted character, and his development throughout the film is both believable and engaging.

Supporting characters also shine in this film. Nova, a human ally played by Amiah Miller, returns with a more prominent role, showcasing the potential for understanding and cooperation between humans and apes. Her relationship with Cornelius adds an emotional layer to the story, highlighting the possibility of reconciliation and mutual respect.

The film also introduces new characters, such as a rival ape leader named Lucius, portrayed by a commanding performance from newcomer Rami Malek. Lucius represents a more militant faction within the ape society, and his interactions with Cornelius add tension and drama to the narrative. These character dynamics are crucial in driving the plot forward and keeping the audience invested in the story.

Visuals and Special Effects

"Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" excels in its visual presentation. The advancements in CGI and motion capture technology are on full display, bringing the ape characters to life with stunning realism. The detail in their expressions, movements, and interactions is remarkable, creating a seamless blend of human and animal traits that enhances the believability of the apes as sentient beings.

The film's cinematography is equally impressive. The lush, post-apocalyptic landscapes are beautifully rendered, providing a stark contrast to the grim realities faced by the characters. The use of natural settings, combined with expertly crafted set designs, immerses the audience in the world of the apes. The attention to detail in the visual effects contributes significantly to the film's immersive experience.

Soundtrack and Audio Design

The soundtrack, composed by Michael Giacchino, complements the film's tone perfectly. Giacchino's score is both haunting and uplifting, reflecting the film's themes of hope and struggle. The music enhances the emotional impact of key scenes, creating a powerful auditory experience that lingers long after the credits roll.

The sound design is equally noteworthy. The film's audio effects, from the rustling of leaves to the roar of battle, are meticulously crafted to create a realistic and immersive environment. The attention to detail in the soundscape adds depth to the visual experience, making the world of the apes feel tangible and alive.

Pacing and Direction

Wes Ball's direction is another highlight of the film. Known for his work on the "Maze Runner" series, Ball brings a fresh perspective to the "Planet of the Apes" franchise. His pacing is deliberate, allowing the story to unfold organically while maintaining a sense of urgency. The film balances action sequences with quieter, character-driven moments, creating a dynamic and engaging narrative.

Ball's handling of the action scenes is particularly commendable. The battles are intense and well-choreographed, with a focus on strategy and tactics rather than sheer spectacle. This approach makes the action sequences more meaningful and grounded, reflecting the film's thematic emphasis on leadership and conflict resolution.


While "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" is an impressive film, it is not without its flaws. Some critics may argue that the film's pacing is slow at times, especially in the first act. The focus on character development and political intrigue, while enriching the narrative, may not appeal to all viewers, particularly those expecting non-stop action.

Additionally, the film's complexity can be both a strength and a weakness. The intricate plot and multiple subplots require careful attention, which might be challenging for casual viewers. However, for fans of the franchise and those who appreciate layered storytelling, these elements add to the film's richness and depth.


"Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" is a worthy addition to the "Planet of the Apes" franchise, offering a compelling story, well-developed characters, and stunning visuals. It continues the legacy of its predecessors while exploring new thematic territory and pushing the boundaries of what is possible with CGI and motion capture technology.

The film's exploration of leadership, responsibility, and coexistence is both timely and thought-provoking, making it more than just a sci-fi action movie. It is a reflection on the nature of power and the potential for harmony in a divided world. Wes Ball's direction, combined with stellar performances from Andy Serkis and the supporting cast, ensures that "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" is a memorable and impactful cinematic experience.

For fans of the franchise and newcomers alike, "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" offers a rich and rewarding journey into a world where the lines between human and animal, friend and foe, are constantly blurred. It is a film that challenges its audience to think deeply about the nature of civilization and the possibilities for a better future. In a landscape of blockbuster films that often prioritize spectacle over substance, "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" stands out as a testament to the power of storytelling and the enduring appeal of the "Planet of the Apes" saga.