Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes review: Overlong but entertaining sci-fi sequel | Films | Entertainment

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The Planet of the Apes reboot trilogy starring Andy Serkis’ sensational motion-capture performance as Caesar, has been some of the best blockbusters in recent years.

The films only got better when writer-director Matt Reeves came on board leaving us with his 5 star epic, War for the Planet of the Apes.

Caesar’s journey came to an end as he led his people like a Biblical prophet to their promised land before his death.

And now the first in a new trilogy of movies, helmed by Maze Runner director Wes Ball, takes place 300 years on from when a virus made apes intelligent and humans feral.

The animals have since built a civilisation and spread out into clans in the ruins of humanity, while the remaining people, who can no longer talk, live out a primitive existence.

The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, which wasn’t the original title, stars Owen Teague as a young chimp, Noa, opposite Freya Allan’s human woman. Together they conflict with Kevin Durand’s Promixus Caesar, an ape king who rules by the sea and seeks to harness the old technology of humanity to assert his dominance.

At two and a half hours, the blockbuster is the longest of the 10 films in the franchise to date and could have been cut down. The opening introduces the world in scenes reminiscent of Avatar but takes too long and at times was slow and monotonous without the emotion and depth of the Reeves films.

However, once the storyline got going we were largely entertained; particularly enjoying the world-building and musings Peter Macon’s Raka, a wise orangutang who carries the teachings of Caesar like an early church father.

The action, when it arrives, works well. However, with fewer humans involved than previous films, Kingdom felt too CGI heavy. Motion-capture performances are impressive, but the apes look video-gamey with graphics that will inevitably age fast. To be honest, at times we were longing for a return to the prosthetics of Tim Burton’s 2001 remake, which still hold up today.

Nevertheless, the first Planet of the Apes movie under the Disney banner is a good start and the twists of what’s to come next left us excited for more.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is out now in UK cinemas.

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