Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

The re-rebooted Planet of the Apes series trilogy was a fantastic surprise for me. It was yet another roll your eyes ‘reimagining’ of yet another done to death franchise that had already been remade with Tim Burton taking a (bloody awful) swing at it in the early oughts. But Rise, Dawn and War turned out to be a rare trifecta in engaging, breathtaking spectacle cinema. I will go as far as to say it’s one of the best series made this century. But it was over, really satisfyingly completing the tale of Caesar (Andy Serkis). A full stop that left you well and truly contented.

"choked with quality performances, writing, humour, pathos, fear and the effects are the best of the series hands down"

But that never is the case in Hollywood, is it? 20th Century Fox got sold to Disney and transformed into 20th Century Pictures, their output a shadow of their former productivity. But word came that a new Apes film was on the way. And again, my eyes rolled… until tonight…

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is set in the same continuity of the Caesar trilogy ‘many generations later.’ This was the right choice from director Wes Ball. He picks us up hundreds of years after Caesar’s triumph. The great ape has transformed into messianic status and is the foundation of this time’s differing ape societies—their interpretations of his message differing greatly. We meet our new hero, Noa (Owen Teague) doing teenage boy stuff, risking his neck to impress his father. He is part of an ‘eagle clan’, one of many hunter-gatherer  tribes out there. Noa is forced to grow up fast when he unfortunately finds a garment that has ‘echo’ (human) blood on it. The owner of that blood, Mae (Freya Allan) is a very rare echo indeed and she’s being hunted by a merciless group of apes that raze Noa’s village and seemingly kill everyone. Noa goes into the forbidden zone to find the apes responsible, seemingly intent on vengeance. He meets Raka (Peter Makon), the obi-wan of orangutang, and is told of Caesar’s teachings. They discover Mae can talk and begin a trek across country for their own separate agendas. But the leader of the merciless apes, a self-appointed Caesar named Proximus (Kevin Durand) has his own ideas about their uses. It does not go smoothly.Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

This is rollicking good yarn that takes its time to let the characters connect with each other and the audience. This is, at its core, mythology 101–and that in no way is a back-handed compliment. Noa is your directionless youth whom, through adversity and loss, grows to be a cunning warrior and skilled leader. You have the shaman, the journey, the conflict, the very effective bad guys (Proximus is like a satanic prehistoric Tony Robbins). It hits all the beats of good storytelling and does it so organically you’re lost in it’s magic within minutes.

Speaking of time, this is a long movie—I think about twenty minutes too long. And that’s about my only criticism. The whole flick is choked with quality performances, writing, humour, pathos, fear and the effects are the best of the series hands down. This is a film that leaves the characters and you with some questions (so more will follow I’m certain) but wraps its own narrative up pretty tightly.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes makes it four for four in this franchise. Maybe some of the other cinema staples might wanna pay attention? Just a thought.

4/5 stars

Film Details

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
145 mins
: Wes Ball
Josh Friedman; Rick Jaffa; Amanda Silver
Owen Teague; Freya Allan; Kevin Durand
: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi

Memorable Movie Quote: "Apes hunt humans. That is the law, but the law is WRONG!"
Theatrical Distributor:
20th Century Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 10, 2024
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Many years after the reign of Caesar, a young ape goes on a journey that will lead him to question everything he's been taught about the past and make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike.


Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes