Action Film

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

After the 2011 reboot, War for the Planet of the Apes is the third instalment and the now-blossoming franchise is showcasing some of the finest effects in modern cinema today with Andy Serkis portraying Caesar throughout.

With Matt Reeves returning from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes I was a tiny bit apprehensive, as the two-rebooted Planet of the Apes films, Matt Reeves’ was the weaker. Lo and behold, I am a sucker for a good action flick though.

Reeves’ does briefly catch up the viewer with a few choice sentences, reciting Rise, Dawn and War, whilst the mentioned battle-hardened veterans weave through the forest. Having war in the title of the film, I was anticipating some all-out action sequences, and this is what happens immediately. The soldiers that adorn the ‘monkey killer’ helmet quickly light up an outpost, but not before the apes show up and take out the army.

As Caesar has taken on the leader role on this, his status is still key as he walks amongst the apes and they all part almost as though he is a God. And this is where the advanced technology really comes into it’s own as Andy Serkis’ portrayal of Caesar is brilliant.

And therein lies one of the greatest things about War for the Planet of the Apes is that the apes take the bulk of the emotion on show within this film. And it is tied in with some beautiful shots, as Lake and Blue Eyes reunite after a long time as the waterfall cascades down behind them.

Personally I think this device was really effective by Reeves’ as it shows the evolution of the apes over the humans. The first encounter between the apes and the humans, Caesar extends a compassionate olive branch in the hope of long-lasting peace, whereas Woody Harrelson’s Colonel is a very two-dimensional as a character. I don’t think that’s necessarily Woody Harrelson’s fault, more a device used by Matt Reeves.

It is now common that blockbusters are starting to use comic effect for one or two of their characters in their films and War for the Planet of the Apes fell victim to this trope. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t work. That was clear emotion elicited by the new ‘bad ape’, but his comic trope kept pulling me out of the picture.

Aside from that, there was very little that caused grief with this film. I was a massive fan of the compassion and humanity that the Apes showed and that being directly contrasted by the humans inability to elicit any emotion. Their ability to communicate and come together for the sake of their race was key, whilst the humans carried on bringing about destruction of their own race.

Although for saying the title of the film is War for the Planet of the Apes. There isn’t a great deal of war sequences within. There is that glorious opening sequences, and the climatic battle, but other than that it seems as though the war is held within Caesar. Especially as he is tipped over the edge in the battle for apekind against humankind, when the Colonel embarks on some pretty shady business with Caesar’s family.

Considering Matt Reeves’ first attempt at the Apes franchise was less-than-memorable, War for the Planet of the Apes is considerably better. Probably better than the first rebooted film, but this will be significantly helped by the portrayal of the apes thanks to the advancements in technology, but also Andy Serkis’ performance. His ability to channel the humanity and compassion from the start and then seeing the hatred completely take over is astounding.

In a summer of blockbuster films, War for the Planets of the Apes is probably in amongst the top for the enjoyment taken out of the action sequences, but also for having that narrative structure to allow for the film to be carried over it’s two hour plus runtime. Maybe with some fine editing and the removal of the comic relief the film maybe could’ve been the best film out of the summer for me, but alas, this has not happened. For now, it’ll be interesting to see whats next in stall for the Apes franchise.

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Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Back in 2007, Michael Bay bought the robots in disguise to the silver screen in great fashion. I personally really enjoyed watching these metallic behemoths battle whilst the screen was bathed in a glossy finish during the first instalment. Fast-forward ten years and Michael Bay is still going with this franchise with his latest instalment of Transformers: The Last Knight.

Unfortunately, my enjoyment has been evaporating quickly as the franchise now trundles into into it’s fifth segment. Bay seems to be up to his old tricks with his fast-paced and sometimes unintelligible narrative as Mark Wahlberg returns as Cade Yeager, but after the events of Tranformers: Age of Extinction he is currently in hiding with Bumblebee and other familiar faces, including Grimlock, the dinosaur robot.


I’m unsure where they keep coming up with ideas for the Transformers franchise, but it is seemingly picking points in history and making it Transformer-y. 

This time? The legend of King Arthur. 

After Transformers: Age of Extinction, Transformers are being hunted by TRF, regardless of their factions. Bay does some show incredible feats of world building as he shows cities demolished and the derelict areas where Transformers are hunted. It’s in one of these broken cities that Cade is given a metallic talisman, which carries the same symbol as the Arthurian knights in the glorious action-packed opening segment.

All the while, there is a storyline involving an Earl of Folgan (Anthony Hopkins), keeper of the secret regarding the history of Transformers on Earth, but also a girl that finds herself without a home after her Transformer companion is killed by the TRF. And of course, much like the other four Transformers films, Bay jet sets the film across the world from London to the South Dakotan badlands and Cuba.


At this point, I was unsure which direction Michael Bay wanted the film to go with Anthony Hopkins jabbering away at Mark Wahlberg and Laura Haddock. Hopkins believably seemed as though he had a screw loose during this segment. This naturally bought about a few laughs, and his leprechaun butler Cogsworth. Bay’s choice of jokes was odd though as some landed but more missed. He often pointed at things throughout the film and directly laughed at them in cringeworthy fashion.

Transformers: The Last Knight doesn’t try and stray away from the framework that has already produced four films, as Michael Bay still includes earth-shatteringly loud action sequences but also having that attractive female for leering purposes. This time Laura Haddock takes on this role as Viviane.

I will say, I was enjoying Transformers: The Last Knight. That was until my popcorn ran out. The film is just mind-numbingly packed to the brim with action with abundance of slow-motion sequences and of course because it’s a bay film, explosions galore. However, as I mentioned, once the popcorn runs out, the patience does too. The film is shy of three hours, and it feels it every step of the way.


And the problems do not stop there. The narrative is just nonsense and often found myself at a loss with where the film was heading, especially with the whole Witwickian lore and how it somehow segwegged into the battle between Unicron and Cybertron. And it’s not often I notice, but the ratio was all over the place as the film jumps from one ratio to the next. Of course with action films, the performances are never going to be the centre of attention, but when the performances are dialled in with cameos thrown in for nostalgic reasons, it becomes a bit of a farce.

That being said, the action sequences were enjoyable as the Transformers punched and shot at each other, but this can’t carry a film for near enough three hours. Transformers: The Last Knight wasn’t certainly the worst film I’ve seen, but it definitely wasn’t the best. It was just complete, sometimes enjoyable, nonsense.