Sunday, May 19, 2024

Opinion

‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ breathes fresh life into franchise

May 14, 2024 12:18 AM IST

By: Aditya Ahuja

You are not alone if you are questioning the motives behind reviving a franchise after a seven-year hiatus. Surprisingly, ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ proves to be far more than a mere cash grab.

Wes Ball, previously known for ‘The Maze Runner’ series, has now ascended to Hollywood’s top tier of directors. His latest work is high on action and injects fresh energy into the franchise while staying true to the universes laid out in the preceding three movies.

Positioned centuries after the devastating events of ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ (2017), humanity has regressed to its primitive state following a deadly man-made virus attack. This virus stripped humans of their ability to speak and relegated them to the lowest rung of the societal hierarchy. In contrast, the apes, who once coexisted alongside humans, have now risen to power and become the oppressors.

In this new age, the mantle of leadership falls to Noa (Owen Teague), who emerges as the central protagonist. The apes reign supreme, with Caesar’s legacy still casting a long shadow over the evolving landscape.

The film does well in exploring themes of leadership, legacy, and the dangers of authoritarianism, drawing parallels to contemporary socio-political issues. While Caesar, memorably portrayed by Andy Serkis, is no more, his teachings endure, albeit distorted by the tyrant Proximus, whose thirst for power threatens to unravel the fragile peace.

Proximus governs a slave colony within a reclaimed human settlement, where a hidden bunker holds a coveted secret. Through Proximus’s tyranny, the film offers a poignant commentary on the manipulation of history and the perils of unchecked power.

Although expressive motion capture is used to create lifelike computer-generated imagery (CGI) animals, the film echoes (pun intended) Rupert Wyatt’s ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ in terms of filmmaking.

Ball’s version lacks the auditory and visual taste of Matt Reeves’ two installments (‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ and ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’). However, much like the first film, it compensates with a compelling storyline, distinctive characters, and entertainment value.

In a time when big-budget films like ‘Dune: Part Two’ and ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ prioritise cinematography and sound while offering paper-thin plots, ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ is a breath of fresh air.

If nothing else, the fourth installment is a solid starting point for another potential series of big-screen adventures.

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Last updated on: 19th May 2024