Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes: an Echo of the past

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes: an Echo of the past

I am absolutely a sucker for primate related movies and media. Scrap that, Im fascinated by primates full stop. I'm lucky enough to live near and have visited several times, Monkey World. It's an amazing place that looks after chimpanzees and other primates that have been mistreated or rehomed. I've even made an unreleased art collection called Primate Planet where pop culture references are made into primate themed prints. American psycho monkey or primate Batman and Superman down the pub? Anyway that's for another time, perhaps.
Whether it's King Kong in Peter Jackson's movie, I remember loving the video game of the same name ( does anyone else remember rampage?!).
Forget Godzilla, I was on team Kong's side during the lockdown movie Godzilla Vs Kong. But by far my favourite incarnation of primates in the media is the planet of the Apes. Even before the recently finished trilogy of films following the rise of Caesar, I used to read the comics, listen to the LP, watch the tv series and of course the original 1960s movie.
Heck one of the best peak Simpsons jokes was a satirical take on a planet of the apes musical (You finally made a monkey out of me!). Even at its most camp it has something to say, whether it's on the threat of cold war nuclear Armageddon or the civil rights movement.
“You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!”
The series was rebooted in 2011 and although “Rise” was a solid start it wasn't as deep and thoughtful as the rest of the series, that would grow and develop in Dawn and War.
The films grapple with the weight of prejudice and violence, questioning the line between humanity and barbarity. They also explore the possibility of coexistence between apes and humans, highlighting the struggle for peace amidst lingering distrust and the burden of a bloody past. 
It is a fantastic trilogy of films and Caesar in my opinion is one of the best character arcs in movies.
This brings us to a new start of Ape movies…
"Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" rockets onto the screen with a dazzling display of visual effects and pulse-pounding action. I loved watching it on the big screen and although I had doubts the quality would be retained by a fourth film, I was wrong. I'll generally avoid discussing major plot points and talk mainly about the themes and how it made me feel.
Hundreds of years after Caesar's revolution, the film introduces a new generation of apes grappling with a complex legacy and an uncertain future. Owen Teague delivers a captivating performance as Noa, a young ape yearning to explore the world beyond his sheltered upbringing. His curiosity ignites a journey that challenges everything he thought he knew.
WETA Workshop's mastery of motion-capture technology breathes life into the ape characters, rendering their expressions and emotions with remarkable depth. Lush, overgrown landscapes interweave with the crumbling remnants of human civilization, creating a breathtaking post-apocalyptic tapestry. From the bustling ape clans to the desolate echos of cities, every frame is meticulously crafted to immerse the audience in this evolved world.
While it undoubtedly lays a strong foundation for a new chapter in the franchise, the present story itself feels more like a bridge connecting the franchise's past to a yet-unseen future. Caesar's legacy casts a long shadow, and the film excels in depicting the burden of history on ape society. We witness apes struggling to reconcile his ideals of peace with their inherent distrust of humans, a species they once subjugated. Hints of this simmering tension emerge in interactions between ape factions, where themes of peaceful coexistence and the fragility of that peace constantly threaten to erupt.
New ape factions are introduced, each with their own agendas and simmering resentments. While this world-building is undeniably captivating, it leaves the present story feeling somewhat unfulfilled. The narrative unfolds like the opening act of a grander play, leaving viewers wanting more from the immediate story arc. Yet, this doesn't diminish the intrigue for what the future holds. The seeds of complex conflicts have been meticulously sown, and one can't help but be curious about how these tensions will blossom in the sequels.  
However there are thoughtful themes in the movie. Noah's arc in "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" blossoms into a powerful exploration of how a society stagnates without a thirst for knowledge. Sheltered within his insular clan, Noah's life revolves around unquestioning obedience to the elders. Their limited world offers no knowledge of their past or anything beyond their immediate surroundings. This stifling environment breeds a culture of ignorance, a stark contrast to the vibrant intellectual curiosity Noah encounters upon venturing out.
His first awakening comes in the form of Rakka. This fellow ape embodies a pragmatic approach to knowledge, actively seeking out information that can be directly applied to improve their lives. This is a stark contrast to Noah's passive acceptance of the status quo.
But Noah's education doesn't stop there. He also encounters Proximus, who represents a more intellectual side of the knowledge spectrum. Proximus possesses a burning desire for knowledge for its own sake, an insatiable curiosity that drives him to delve into the mysteries of the past and the secrets of the world around him. Witnessing these contrasting approaches to learning becomes a turning point for Noah.
As he observes their inquisitiveness and the way they actively seek out and interpret information, a seed of doubt is planted. Noah begins to question the limitations of his own upbringing. The unquestioning acceptance of authority and the lack of independent thought within his clan suddenly appear stifling. He realizes the folly of blind trust and the importance of critical thinking. This revelation becomes a catalyst for his own transformation.
By the film's end, Noah is no longer the unquestioning follower he once was. The spark of curiosity ignited by Rakka and fanned by Proximus' intellectual fire has blossomed into a full-fledged desire for knowledge. He embarks on a journey of self-discovery, fueled by a newfound thirst for understanding. This journey promises to not only reshape his own world view, but potentially act as a catalyst for change within his insular clan.
It's amazing how a franchise about Apes taking over has become one of the most thematically in depth and thoughtful series of films over the last 15 years.
In essence Kingdom lays a strong foundation for a potentially epic saga. It's a calculated gamble, and only time will tell if it pays off. 

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