When I was little my father showed me the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston saying the iconic line (“Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!) and that chill-inducing conclusion when we see the Statue of Liberty jutting half-buried from decades of sand on the horizon. That last shot still haunts me.
Then, eight years ago, my father took me and my sister to see The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in theaters. I watched it, I didn’t like it, and I forgot 98% of the movie.
Fast forward to 2017 and War for the Planet of the Apes has come out and is getting a bunch of rave reviews. Curious, we bought it on Prime Video and were absolutely gobsmacked by how good it was. It became my favorite film of 2017 and is a film I still watch every once in a while to this day.
However, there was always this notion in the back of my mind that it was the only good Planet of the Apes movie. Especially when I knew there was a film that had Mark Wahlberg (I thought it was the first of the new era of Planet of the Apes movies) and I knew people didn’t like it. Then I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes and I was changed.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a surprisingly fantastic origin story for the enhanced chimpanzee who would one day become the legendary leader, Caesar, portrayed brilliantly by Andy Serkis. James Franco’s character Will Rodman (yes, this was back in the day before he got canceled) raises Caesar after rescuing him from an experimental lab and the rest is history.
What surprised me the most was the fact that I actually cared about the humans. Unlike the Transformers or Godzilla films where they are annoying or in the way of the better storylines, the humans in this story actually fit into the narrative in really profound ways.
After finishing Rise of the Planet of the Apes of course I had to revisit Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to continue the story and see if the film was as boring as I remembered.
To my great surprise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of the best sequels I’ve ever seen!
Set ten years after the first movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is an astonishingly well-made film about family, rivalries, and war. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time all the way until the film’s chill-inducing final shot which was just…absolutely brilliant.
And then of course there’s War for the Planet of the Apes, the final film in what I now consider one of the best trilogies of all time. And unlike most trilogies, the final movie is actually the best one.
I’m floored, flabbergasted, and astounded, basically, every word in the thesaurus that coincides with amazed is how I’m feeling about these movies. For so many years I’ve seen critics and casual movie lovers speak about the best trilogies ever made and yet I’ve never heard the Planet of the Apes in the conversation which UTTERLY baffles me.
If you’ve never seen these movies I implore you to check them out. I think you’ll be just as surprised as me when you finish them.
My favorite trilogy of all time is The Lord of the Rings trilogy but undoubtedly my second favorite trilogy is now the Planet of the Apes trilogy. It is masterfully crafted from the first film to the last and considering that Matt Reeves directed the last two movies…
If he creates a trilogy as profoundly incredible as the Planet of the Apes films for Robert Pattinson’s Batman it will undoubtedly be the greatest Batman trilogy of all time and it won’t even be close.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a fantastic day.