First Trailer for Andy Serkis’ ‘Mowgli’ Is Released!

“Motion capture and live action are blended for “Mowgli,” a new, big-screen, 3D adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic The Jungle Book.

The film features an impressive roster of stars under the direction of Andy Serkis. The story follows the upbringing of the human child Mowgli, raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often harsh rules of the jungle, under the tutelage of a bear named Baloo and a panther named Bagheera, Mowgli becomes accepted by the animals of the jungle as one of their own. All but one: the fearsome tiger Shere Khan. But there may be greater dangers lurking in the jungle, as Mowgli comes face to face with his human origins.”

Directed by: Andy Serkis

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, Christian Bale, Rohan Chand, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander

Release Date: October 19th, 2018

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Black Panther

Year: 2018
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis,
Martin Freeman

WRITTEN BY ANDREW GARRISON

While this is far from the first black superhero movie, it is still very important. Diversity is a gift, allowing us to see new stories and points of view we may have not yet considered. It opens our world to new exciting possibilities. Marvel Studios has grown increasingly diverse over the past decade, but this is the first time a primary non-white protagonist emerges. I was excited about this movie even before ‘Captain America: Civil War’ arrived. I thought Black Panther was a character the Marvel universe needed. Coming into this movie with high hopes, it did not disappoint.

‘Black Panther’ follows the return of T’Challa (Boseman) to his home, Wakanda, after the events of ‘Captain America: Civil War’. He is to be crowned king but must face the mistakes and adversaries of the past and attempt to guide his people toward the right future. This film has the most talented cast that Marvel has used to date. Chadwick Boseman plays the Black Panther very well. He dives into the character and never lets up. The main antagonist is Erik Killmonger played by Michael B. Jordan who delivers a stirring performance. Lupita Nyong’o is incredibly cool throughout this film, she nearly steals the movie from Boseman, which is an impressive feat all its own. You know you are watching something special when the secondary characters feature the likes of; Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, and Martin Freeman. Everyone did wonderful work in their roles.

This film may be fantasy, but it is loaded with profound concepts for the world we live in. Things that needed to be said and heard by the masses were exposed. This movie highlights some ugly truths about our own world. Things we need to accept as issues and then get to work finding resolutions. Granted it is early, but the cinematography, set designs, costumes, and makeup are flawless throughout this film and I hope will receive some award nominations in the future. You don’t just learn about Black Panther and his close circle, you learn about the spiritual, political, and social culture of Wakanda in stunning detail. This is a very fleshed out world, better than anything Marvel has done to date in this regard.

The music throughout this film is aesthetically pleasing, perfectly sewn into the film at the right moments. Combine that with excellent sound and CGI, and you have a film that is well-made all around. There are humor and action throughout, but the humor is tamed. It knows when it can be funny and when it needs to be serious. (Think ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and not ‘Thor: The Dark World’.) The film mixes in periods of drama and character development with intense actions scenes. Marvel has gotten a bit more brutal in recent years. The violence was still very much PG- 13, but it was very much fitting of that rating. When the action goes down, it is some of the most impressive I’ve seen from any superhero film to date.

While I enjoyed ‘Black Panther’, it does have a few issues. Anyone familiar with these Marvel movies over the past decade knows they have some flaws. Without spoiling anything, this movie carries on a recurring Marvel issue regarding the fate of it’s villains. This by no means ruins the movie, but it is a fact that Marvel isn’t going unnoticed amongst fans.

While I tried to avoid a lot of news about this film, I was hearing a lot of hype for Killmonger as Marvel’s best villain. He has a compelling story, but there was so much of it glossed over. I wanted to know more about this character and he never fully developed as I hoped. There are a couple of decisions the movie makes that I didn’t like. I felt Marvel had built up something and then wasted a great opportunity. While not often, sometimes the camerawork would be erratic and hard to follow. ‘Black Panther’ wasn’t just a Marvel superhero movie, it was a rattling of the cages type film. It spoke a lot of truth that we often sweep under the rug about the world we live in. It raises awareness and then offers the global society an olive branch. ‘Black Panther’ is well-crafted in every sense of the word. Director Ryan Coogler continues to astound, and this may be the most beautiful Marvel movie made yet.

ANDREW’S RATING: 8.8/10

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Year: 2017
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro.

WRITTEN BY CHRIS GELDERD

This 2017 American sci-fi fantasy is written and directed by Rian Johnson and is the sequel to 2015s ‘The Force Awakens’, the second of the New Trilogy and ninth in the overall Star Wars saga.

Following the destruction of Starkiller Base at the hands of the Resistance led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), the brave heroes find themselves mercilessly hunted by the First Order under the command of General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).

As the Resistance attempts to survive the First Order, young Jedi in training Rey (Daisy Ridley) seeks the help of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to join the fight and defeat Snoke and his powerful apprentice, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Emotions will be pushed to breaking point as Rey discovers shocking truths about key fighters in the Resistance and First Order, and Luke Skywalker himself, which will force everyone to question just where their destiny lies within the galaxy and which side of the fight they are truly on…

I’m going to say it from the off here – I walked out of the midnight showing of ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’ a little disappointed. Not for J.J. Abrams’ thrill ride, but for the new episode from writer/director Rian Johnson. ‘The Last Jedi’ is a blend of all that works from the prequels and original trilogy, but sadly lots that doesn’t. The result is a film that delivers on the most part, but stumbles along the way and gives, I think, little payoff for a film that should offer more resolutions than headaches.

Maybe I will feel different on the second viewing with a clearer head? Or maybe that’s me as an avid Star Wars fan desperate to find more in this blockbuster than I originally found.

We are catapulted into the fall-out from ‘The Force Awakens’ in a typical Star-Warsy narrative that is tried and tested; a number of stories running parallel that converge at the end. The late Carrie Fisher has far more to do this time around leading the Resistance again as General Leia Organa. Oscar Isaac is back as passionate pilot Poe along with John Boyega as Finn and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, a maintenance worker for the Resistance. It is this group, along with Laura Dern as the ‘is she good / is she bad?’ Admiral Holdo, that are the ones scrabbling around trying to simultaneously fight against and flee from the First Order.

On the other hand, we have Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker seeking to understand each other, the Force and the state of the galaxy at war. On the OTHER other hand, Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren and Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux ham it up for all it’s worth as the brash, short-fused, volatile but merciless First Order agents.

As you can see, it’s a busy narrative with lots of new and old characters, new planets, species and technology. And as you suspect, there is a lot of waste and a lot of back and forth that messes up the flow. The Resistance has a lazy plot that revolves around breaking a secret code on-board the biggest Star Destroyer in the First Order fleet to allow their ships to flee. So much time is spent on this task that is made out to be much easier to do than it really should be, giving Boyega, Tran and co. reasons to forge relationships and run around on the very prequel-esque digital world of Cantonica and Canto Bight. It detracts from the main flow of the story and is very digital, compared to the practical worlds of Takodana and Jakku from ‘The Force Awakens.’

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The CGI here and throughout is very noticeable. It’s not 100% polished, but because there is so much it’s far easier to spot. From Snoke’s digital body to dozens of new alien species and much more gravity/physics defying action, it reminded me more of the flamboyant CGI of the prequels than the restrained, minimal CGI J.J. Abrams introduced us to. As I said, some of the prequel material worked, much didn’t. ‘The Last Jedi’ plays out like a new modern entry wrapped up in a prequel skin.

It’s a busy film, and the secondary narrative detracts from what we are here to see – the return of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and his relationship with Rey. We get this and more, and it’s wonderful. A highlight of the film is seeing the two bicker, argue try to understand each other, exploring lore from the past and touching on the future. Hamill is not the Jedi we last saw on Endor, but a world-weary, scared and bitter hermit questioning his own existence and the Force itself. He draws us into his story and the spark between him and Ridley grips you, wondering just who is right and who is wrong.

And on the subject of Luke; his Porgs. Not as annoying as you’d expect, and rather amusing in a restrained way. They are NOT the new Ewoks, believe me, and the best of the various digital creatures we have here (the Canto Bight ones truly pointless if you ask me).

But with constant interjections from a slightly boring Resistance story, it becomes frustrating being drip-fed so much about Luke, Rey and Kylo that while it is electric to watch, Johnson doesn’t offer clear resolutions to questions raised in 2015. I felt short-changed by many outcomes, and annoyed at what seemed to be a waste of established material. To be honest, at times I didn’t know if I was watching the middle of a trilogy or the end of one. As both stories crank up to converge, my mind’s eye saw ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ blended with ‘Return Of The Jedi’ in a mish-mash of sequences that, while hitting the humour, emotion and action just right, were just too rushed and hap-hazard to take in. Even the Battle Of Hoth-esque finale  (spot the Gareth Edwards solider cameo!) is pretty boring, un-eventful and jammed with digital creations that I was turning off even when a certain character brushed his shoulder off. It felt too much, too late.

I was seeing things I didn’t want to see happen. Outcomes I didn’t want to witness. Characters go when I couldn’t see a reason for.  The film itself is immersive, don’t get me wrong. There are some really beautiful shots and really tender, well executed moments developing our heroes and villains. I just felt the outcomes were either cheap or rushed.  Even the score by John Williams is devoid of anything standout, and the only motifs that roused me were ones recycled from the Original Trilogy for a truly sentimental impact.

You can see, I am torn, and I’m annoyed that a Star Wars film has made me feel like this especially following such a blistering opening chapter.

As I said, I felt the trilogy was wrapping up towards the end of this. It was strange. Where will they go from here? J.J. Abrams needs to really add something new to ‘Episode IX’ because questions and motives are still clouded and over-looked all for dramatic effect, and opportunities have been missed. While I buy into this new galaxy and always will be an avid fan, I need more to invest in for this current battle between good and evil to give me chills the way that all closing chapters should. Because to me it feels Johnson has peaked the trilogy far too soon.

CHRIS’ RATING: 5.0/10.

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JUMPCUT’s Favourites: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Year: 2001
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Billy Boyd, Andy Serkis, John Rhys-Davies, Hugo Weaving, Liv Tyler, Dominic Monaghan

Written by Jo Craig

As a restless ten-year-old, shuffling around the toy section at Woolworths had become an unspoken talent among youngsters, able to sail from aisle to aisle while barely glancing at the shelves and somehow gather that there were no new gadgets to impress. That was until an oval, green box with a black, hooded figure inside caught my eye, and I stopped and asked my Aunt who tolerated my shuffling, “What’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’?”

Remembering that introduction vividly, as well as my super-cool Mum letting me skip school on December 19th, 2001 to view a true spectacle that was ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’, becoming one of the first films I recall being deliriously giddy at the faint mention of it. Combined with two sequels, ‘The Two Towers’ and ‘The Return of the King’, Peter Jackson’s vision of J.R.R. Tolkien’s written masterpiece has stood the test of time against modern, CGI enthused films and was the first motion picture that ignited my burning love for the movies.

In summary, ‘Fellowship’ acquaints us with fearless Hobbits, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and the most beloved TLOTR character Sam (Sean Astin), embarking on their journey to destroy the one ring and its ruler, the Dark Lord Sauron (Sala Baker). Travelling across Middle-Earth through villages, elven realms, mines and mountains, Frodo, Sam and their selected eight companions, fellow Hobbits Pippin (Billy Boyd) and Merry (Dominic Monaghan), Gandalf the Grey (Sir Ian McKellen), Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) and Boromir (Sean Bean) (not forgetting Bill the trusted steed), combine their efforts as “The Fellowship of the Ring” and battle the evil that stands in their way.  

As a kid, ‘TFOTR’ was made unique by my failure to recognise the cast as actors, as I was still ignorant towards the concept of “acting”. This misconception insisted each role was the real deal, and that movies were some sort of a found footage experience where in some parallel universe Elves, Men and Orcs really were at war. Ah, to be young again. Viggo Mortensen who played my treasured Aragorn has now become a favoured actor who I admire in alternative roles but his portrayal of Strider, the Ranger of the North remains undefeated. With a tremendous amount of production piled into all three movies, ‘Fellowship’ relies on prosthetics and set pieces with a modest amount of CGI to construct its magical world, creating a more intimate experience that the sequels lost to grandeur. The beautiful score (that embarrassingly became my homework music), scenery and props all contributed to an eagerness to explore the outdoors and make flimsy weapons out of deformed sticks and tin foil.

The amount of graft and ingenuity that went into creating Middle-Earth and its inhabitants, winning four Oscars (seventeen for the entire trilogy) for Original Score, Makeup, Cinematography and Visual Effects, has a great deal to say about ‘The Hobbit’; a prequel trilogy that only won the Sci-Fi Tech Award and to this day makes a sixteen-year-old adventure look a thousand “po-ta-toes” better. Each component that brought TLOTR into visual existence created wonder throughout my late childhood and instilled a nostalgic release that triggered every time that tin whistle sang out The Shire theme.

Although the trilogy as a whole is phenomenal, ‘Fellowship’ will always remain my preferred instalment as it showcased film on a scale the world had never seen before, inviting us into a fantasy we were desperate to see more of and of course, the horseback Ringwraiths were badass. A film I could replay and recite until the end of my days and still manage to catch an extra cameo of Peter Jackson, ‘TFOTR’ will remain my ‘go-to’ movie of a lifetime that paved the way for my aspiring career and invoked a passion for exquisite cinema that I am forever grateful for.

Darkness Rises In Brand New ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ TV Spot

“In Lucasfilm’s ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of ‘The Force Awakens’ join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past”

Directed By: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Billi Lourd
Release Date: 14th December 2017

The Ritual

Year: 2017
Directed by: David Brückner
Cast: Rafe Spall, Sam Troughton, Robert James-Collier, Arsher Ali, Paul Reid

Written by Jo Craig

The Halloween film reel for 2017 has a diverse line-up for fright night enthusiasts as they countdown to the witching hour by entertaining a robust array of compelling features, including the anticipated return of ‘Jigsaw’ and British / International horror ‘The Ritual’. Underdog geezer Rafe Spall teams up with ‘VHS’ contributor David Brückner to supply our preliminary fix of adrenaline on an idyllic Friday the 13th release.

The Art House labelled chiller follows a group of four friends who come together for a hike through the Nordic wilderness as a farewell gesture to their fifth companion Robert (Paul Reid) who suffered a sudden and merciless death back on British territory. Travelling with raw emotions and unspoken issues, the lads experience unexplained occurrences during a detour through the forest that test their friendship, sanity and resilience.

If a story began with the bright spark of a wandering pack deciding to take a shortcut through the woods, the ending could be predicted faster than the ‘screamer’ of the group would be killed off. However Brückner’s fourth major production unexpectedly supplies a mountain of weight behind an incredibly misleading trailer depiction that suggested we were in for a Danny Dyer-esque black comedy. With the exception of free-flowing banter cascading over a solid introduction, the plot is quick to address an underlying psychological narrative amongst creepy forest events, acting as an anchor to an otherwise recycled horror with inflated ideas that surface in later plot points. The subtle wit keeps our interest active in the lead up to the shit hitting the fan, but skilfully absorbs the change in tone when our focus shifts to more serious matters, unlocking insight into our characters behavioural patterns. The scares that await behind the branches have a direct relationship with the cognitive subtext, as protagonist Luke provides key scenes that present a unique interpretation of a tormented conscience that differentiates from past foreboding forest flicks.

Rafe Spall from ‘Green Street’ and ‘Shaun of the Dead’ glory is comfortable portraying a lively but subdued Luke, changing his manner naturally with the directors pace. Spall’s support from Robert James-Collier’s Hutch, Arsher Ali’s Phil and Sam Troughton (who remains an unnamed character throughout) offer tenacious backing and timely comic relief but never overshadows Luke’s spotlight. Spall’s portrayal of a more serious role to date shows his skills as a diverse actor, preserving his place as a household British name like his father Timothy, despite flaunting a rather mellow career. As the gang deliver a grounding performance as a unit, sporadic flickers of personal growth aid their show of individuality but bare their primitive instincts that clash in a calculable way.

‘The Ritual’ closely follows the traditional three act blueprint which neatly packages the storytelling as a whole and helps to contain the sudden shift into Nordic imagination with an idiosyncratic denouement which left half the audience feeling cheated. A cumbersome conclusion teetering amidst brilliance and nonsense interjected some wonder into an initially predictable outcome but consequently gridlocked a once energetic script. After thoroughly extinguishing any molecule of humour, a counterbalance of physical legwork was demanded from the actors to compensate, causing irritating and reckless decision making from the London boys we were meant to be rooting for. Ultimately the eye-rolling fantasy connotation will remain a meaty wedge between viewers, leaving some in awe and others running for the convivial atmosphere of the pub.

Aside from getting lost down mythical lane, Brückner’s adaptation of the titular Adam Nevill novel poses a delicious pick ‘n mix of nightmarish qualities with an intriguing subjective undertone, working closely with surprise producer Andy Serkis who lends his insight on embodying human suffering and enlightenment while building an unprecedented creation for a rather inferior twist. British screenwriter Joe Barton shows his strength in repartee but struggles to generate anything ground-breaking when it comes to the hard stuff, damaging what could have been the films leaven. The “holy shit” wallops relied heavily on imagination from suggestion and hair-raising scenarios that silenced any jump scares and added greater emphasis on Ben Lovett’s simple but effective score.

At its finest hour, ‘The Ritual’ carries a powerful ambience reminiscent of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and its overbearing tension, but stumbles into amateur hour comparable to Nordic found footage escapade ‘Troll Hunter’, linking engaging character studies with tales of hyperbolic fantasy that failed to collaborate successfully in the closing thirty minutes. Exhibiting a well-equipped pursuit through a labyrinth of woodland torment, our first bite of this year’s Halloween platter by no means leaves you dissatisfied, but conclusively plays rather heavily on a taboo genre that calls for an acquired taste to enjoy. Even though the tagline suggests the boys should have gone to Ibiza, JumpCut recommends you head into the woods regardless.

Jo’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Killmonger Takes On T’Challa In Brand New ‘Black Panther’ Trailer

“T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.”

Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Andy Serkis, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Martin Freeman, Sterling K. Brown
Release Date: 16th February 2018

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Rey and Kylo Ren Take Centre Stage In Brand New ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Trailer

“Luke Skywalker’s peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he meets Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force.”

Direct By: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Gwendoline Christie
Release Date: 14th December 2017

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War for the Planet of the Apes

Year: 2017
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Amiah Miller, Gabriel Chavarria

Written by Rhys Bowen Jones

The rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy has had a strange existence. With ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, it’s safe to say that most people were surprised at just how good the film was, better than it had any right to be, and becoming one of the surprise hits of 2011. Then along came ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ in 2014, a true blockbuster in every sense of the word by winning over audiences and critics alike thanks to its stunning visuals, compelling story, and wonderful performances. ‘Dawn’ stands tall as, for my money, one of the finest science-fiction films of the century. And yet, with ‘War’ upon us, the series as a whole isn’t yet mentioned alongside greats of cinema like ‘Back To The Future’, ‘Toy Story’, or ‘Lord of the Rings’. With Caesar’s return to the silver screen, Planet of the Apes has a series capper that manages to exceed and subvert our expectations and cement the series’ place as an all-time great trilogy.

After the events of ‘Dawn,’ in which Koba (Toby Kebbell) led a revolt against Caesar (Serkis) and a devastating battle against human survivors in San Francisco, the Ape colony are in hiding in an undisclosed location. We join the film in the middle of the action as a small troop of soldiers close in on an Ape camp for a surprise attack. After the attack, Caesar discovers the humans are capturing and using apes as “donkeys” in war to help the human cause. After the colony suffers a great loss, Caesar takes it upon himself to get revenge on the human in charge of this attack, The Colonel (Harrelson).

Upon reflection, it’s important for the prospective audience to know that ‘War’ may be a surprise to some. Given the title, it wouldn’t be foolish to expect Ape-on-Human anarchy throughout as the titular war rages on, but ‘War’ is, in fact, much more introspective and personal than I expected. Forgoing battle in favour of a grand character study of what it means to be human and what’s at stake for both humans and apes is a bold move for a summer blockbuster. That’s not to say there aren’t scenes of anarchy and battle and war, it’s just not the focus of the film. Caesar is at war with his inner demons as much as he is at war with The Colonel to protect his colony.

The series so far has had stellar performances from its apes, none more so than from Andy Serkis, but ‘War’ takes these performances to the next level. One must wonder what more Serkis must do to gain recognition from the Academy because his work in these films is utterly unparalleled. Caesar faces several obstacles to overcome, questions of family and loyalty and morality, all of which are written on his face in typically meticulous fashion. There are so many shots of Caesar’s eyes and they dominate the screen as he wrestles with himself and what he needs to do next. Caesar commands the screen in the same way he commands his colony. One raise of a hand is enough to silence a hundred apes, and he has the same effect on the viewing audience. Caesar is such an incredible achievement in character creation, design, and development that every word, every gesture feels weighty and important. Serkis’ fellow apes, Konoval, Notary, Zahn, are all impressive in their own right, but Serkis is the master, and in ‘War’ we are seeing a master at the very height of his powers.

If any criticism could be aimed at ‘Dawn’ it would be its lack of comic relief. ‘Dawn’ is a very dark film addressing a very serious subject matter, and while ‘War’ is no different by arguably going even darker, this criticism is addressed with the film-stealing Bad Ape (Zahn). After crossing paths with him accidentally on Caesar and company’s travels to find The Colonel, Bad Ape reveals himself to be an escaped chimpanzee from a zoo who learned to speak only by listening and, unlike most apes on screen, is unable to use sign language. Bad Ape learned to live on his own and meeting an ape of a different style to what we’re used to is a great touch for the third entry in the series. The comedy Bad Ape brings, both verbal and physical, is wholly satisfying, the highlight of which is a visual joke before they all set off on a long, cold journey north which had the entire cinema laughing.

Addressing the obvious, ‘War’ is home to the finest performance capture work in cinema. On a purely visual level, the Apes are stunning. No pixel has been left unused as every Ape on screen looks photorealistic, the most impressive of which on this front is Maurice (Konoval), the hulking Orangutan. Many, many critics state that the true power of any performance is in the eyes, and here it’s no different. Most of the Apes are unable to speak and communicate through sign language, so the eyes are as important as ever and each character’s eyes, whether Caesar, Maurice, Rocket (Notary), or Bad Ape, portray so much about their feelings in any given moment.

Beyond the Apes, the effects in general are stunning and I frequently found myself spellbound by the action on screen. Seamlessly blending CGI with humans, whether a small, lost girl (Miller) they found is hiding behind Maurice, or an Ape hands a human a machine gun magazine, it’s an achievement in itself that it looks so perfect. In scenes of battle and in quiet, dialogue filled scenes, the film manages to convince us that what we’re watching is real. If you were to show someone from even 1997 this film, they’d likely be convinced that these were real apes.

‘War’ is as good a series ender as any other. It manages to conclude Caesar’s arc in a satisfying way while keeping the doors open to future instalments. Reeves’ achievements with this film and ‘Dawn’ should not be underestimated as he has taken the fine foundation of ‘Rise’ and elevated it to a level beyond which any of us could have possibly imagined. For me, ‘Dawn’ remains the series’ peak, but ‘War’ is a stellar achievement in film-making. Apes. Trilogy. Strong.

Rhys’ rating: 9.1 out of 10