Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Closes Out the Prequel Series – Maybe.

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KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Review
(L-R): Noa (played by Owen Teague) and Raka (played by Peter Macon) in 20th Century Studios' KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The Planet of the Apes franchise is back in theaters with its tenth movie of the series. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the fifth movie since the reboot in 2001 and seems to bring up the prequel series to an end (but not really). Set “several generations” after the 2017 War of the Planet of the Apes, the movie takes place approximately 300 years after the last film. Just how many generations is that? Since most large Ape species live 35-40 years, several seems like the appropriate descriptor there. But decades and even centuries after Caesar’s death, the apes are broken down into different clans and live at varied levels of intelligence and independence. All while humans are living wild (or so they think) in the wilderness.

The movie picks up with Noa, son of the leader of the Eagle Clan who wants nothing more than to impress his father in the bonding ceremony in the morning. After collecting their Eagle eggs for the ceremony, they find that an Echo (human) has taken some of their items. Returning with a blanket with Echo blood to the clan, the elders take it to find out more information. Instead of finding answers, their clan is attacked and abducted by another clan of apes. Noa is forced to partner with an Orangatang who studies the works of Caesar as well as a human named Mae to try to save his clan, all while everything he’s known is torn down around him.

Freya Allan as Nova in 20th Century Studios’ KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

The story of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is interesting, but it seems like it’s something we’ve seen so many times before. Just because it’s packaged differently with a CGI Apes and creatures doesn’t make it unique. Especially if you’ve watched any of the Planet of the Apes movies. It’s the typical hero arc standing up against the villains to save his family.

But Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes seems to bank heavily on the CGI in this movie. Yes, it’s come a long way even since the 2001 film, but at times it seemed like it was leaning almost into Uncanny Valley territory. If you have seen apes or gorillas in real life, you will notice their human-like eyes and characteristics. There is no doubt there. But the movie will have you questioning if the characteristics are ones the Apes have or if it’s creative license happening. You may find yourself googling “Do chimps have Belly Buttons” only to find out they do. Maybe the hyper-realism is a good thing since we can learn from it, or maybe it’s just the IMAX putting it all in our faces.

Besides the uncanny valley happening throughout the movie, it makes you wonder why every element seems to be touched up or animated. It seems like the horses and humans were the only creatures in the movie that were not animated. Why were the eagles and birds animated? At what point have we gone too far?

Sylva (played by Eka Darville) in 20th Century Studios’ KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Can you walk into Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes and watch the movie without seeing the previous 9 films? Absolutely. There is enough in the movie that gives you a condensed history of the world and franchise, you can easily enjoy the movie without it. There are enough nods to the original films that fans will also enjoy as the movie goes on. But if you feel the need to watch the original movies as well as the reboot prequel series, you can currently stream the Planet of the Apes films all on Hulu right now.

Will this be the last Planet of the Apes movie since it sets up the story almost perfectly for the original Charleston Heston movie to take place? We’re ten movies into a franchise that is still a favorite for many fans and brings in money, and the end of the movie sets it up so there could be another chapter (or more) snuck in before the original series.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is in theaters everywhere this Friday.

Overall Rating

Three and a Half Stars Review

About Kindom of the Planet of the Apes

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

An all-new action-adventure spectacle, 20th Century Studios’ “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” opens exclusively in theaters nationwide May 10, 2024. Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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