‘Apes’ in the future: ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ works thanks to a decent story, great special effects

On the negative side, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes has the dubious distinction of being the weakest of the four newer Apes movies that began with James Franco and Rise of the Planet of the Apes back in 2011.

On the plus side, it’s still pretty good.

Centuries after the death of Caesar, the ape who started the revolution, apes are hanging around, gathering eagle eggs and disparaging the existence of the occasional stinky human with whom they come in contact. This film essentially starts where the original 1968 Planet of the Apes started, with humans running around in herds—mostly unable to speak—and apes hunting them. There are no astronauts this time, though.

The main ape of the story, Noa (Owen Teague), encounters a human in the wild named Mae (Freya Allan). Noe doesn’t like Mae—but eventually discovers she can speak. Ape and human learn to get along as they go up against a kingdom led by a mean ape who wants to keep the humans down and raise up the apes.

It’s all fairly predictable and a little routine, but the film wins with some excellent special effects and convincing ape creations. While the story never truly engulfed me, it didn’t bore me. Director Wes Ball, who made some Maze Runner movies, put together a film that feels more like a transition type of movie than an eventful one.

William H. Macy is perhaps the most notable human-playing member of the cast; he makes a decent mark as a human who can also speak and is just fine with the state of things.

I’m sure there will be more of these, and, who knows, maybe the next one will feature a couple of astronauts touching down on planet Earth and getting the biggest fucking surprise of their lives. It would be a very cool route to a Planet of the Apes remake for sure.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is playing at theaters across the valley.

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