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WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (2017) – My rating: 10/10

In my humble opinion, War for the Planet of the Apes is by far the best Planet Apes movie I’ve seen and I’ve seen them all.  Incredible makeup, incredible acting, incredible story and incredible directing (Matt Reeves).  The cinematography is outstanding and the message was loud and clear.  This movie couldn’t have come at a better time in our lives.  At one point I just weld up and as tears streamed down my face, couldn’t help but wonder why man makes an already difficult world so much more difficult by adding their egos and evil ways to the mix because one thing is certain, WE ALL WILL DIE SOMEDAY!  Having said that, I had to give War for the Planet of the Apes a whooping 10.

Now hiding in the woods after being attacked by the US military group, Alpha-Omega, Caesar, who is the current leader of the Apes, offers the humans peace if the Apes are left alone to live in peace.  Unfortunately Koba, the former rebellious leader of the Apes, who is now dead, still has many followers that are against Caesar and his clan of intelligent Apes and have joined the US military against Caesar.  After a recent attack, Caesar and his clan decides it’s best to go further into hiding by relocating to a new home across the desert where they won’t be found by Alpha-Omega and their mysterious Colonel.

The night before Caesar and his clan are to journey to their new home, they suffer another attack in the night and many Apes are killed, including Caesar’s family, causing him to go after the mysterious Colonel of the Alpha-Omega and the gorilla called Red.  Caesar’s youngest son Cornelius is now the only family he has left alive.  From this point, the emotions and intensity of the journey is overwhelming.  As the pieces fall into place, War for the planet of the Apes is anything but predictable.  We find out the fears and secrets that drive both sides (Man and Ape).  While the other Apes headed for the desert, Caesar along with Maurice, Luca and Rocket are forced to perform many ill gotten deeds like asphyxiating another Ape, which causes Caesar to worry if he is becoming just like Koba.

Not only is War for the Planet of the Apes the best of the entire franchise, it’s also one of the most entertaining movies of the summer.  Check it out, you won’t be disappointed!  Below are the cast of characters (apes and humans, alike) with  synopsis of each, courtesy of Wikipedia).

CAST OF Apes

  • Caesar (Andy Serkis) – an intelligent common chimpanzee who is leader to a tribe of genetically enhanced apes.
  • Bad Ape (Steve Zahn) – a common chimpanzee who lived in a zoo before the Simian Flu outbreak and was a hermit before joining Caesar’s group.
  • Maurice (Karin Konoval) – a wise and benevolent Bornean orangutan who is Caesar’s adviser.
  • Rocket (Terry Notary) – a common chimpanzee who is Caesar’s brother-figure.
  • Red (Ty Olsson) – a Western lowland gorilla who was once a follower of Koba, now serving the Colonel to defeat Caesar. Olsson previously played Chief Hamill in Rise.
  • Cornelia (Judy Greer) – Caesar’s wife.
  • Lake (Sara Canning) – a common chimpanzee in Caesar’s tribe, Blue Eyes’s mate and later Cornelius’s caretaker.
  • Blue Eyes (Max Lloyd-Jones) – Caesar and Cornelia’s oldest son.
  • Cornelius (Devyn Dalton) – Caesar and Cornelia’s youngest son and Blue Eyes’ younger brother. Dalton previously played Cornelia in Rise.
  • Luca (Michael Adamthwaite) – a Western lowland gorilla in Caesar’s tribe.
  • Winter (Aleks Paunovic) – an albino Western lowland gorilla in Caesar’s tribe who defected to the Colonel’s side.
  • Koba (Toby Kebbell) – reprises his role as  from Dawn, appearing in Caesar’s hallucinations.

CAST OF Humans

  • The Colonel (Woody Harrelson) – an iron-fisted soldier and the leader of the paramilitary organization Alpha-Omega who is obsessed with wiping out Caesar and his tribe to preserve his people’s role as the dominant species.
  • Nova (Amiah Miller) – a bold and kind mute orphan whom Maurice adopts as his daughter.
  • Preacher (Gabriel Chavarria) – a human soldier working under the Colonel in Alpha-Omega

KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017) – My rating: 9/10

Kong: Skull Island trailers didn’t do the film justice. I actually wasn’t that motivated about seeing the movie. I couldn’t imagine the what they could possibly throw together to make another Kong movie worth making or paying good money to see. I was surprised by the plot and the relevancy of Kong, not to mention the passion I felt. I dare say, there are some brilliant writers around who really know how to tug at ones heart, get a message to the audience all while entertaining the crap out of you.

Skull Island takes place in 1944 with two WWII fighter pilots engaged in serious combat (one American and one Japanese).  The fight was really intense and just when one of the pilots seemed like he was about to win the fight, an enormous hand raises up out of the earth, causing both soldiers to pause in shock.  Fast forward to 1973, where a former British Special Air Service Captain named James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) is being hired as a hunter-tracker by a US government agent, Bill Randa (John Goodman) to guide an expedition to map out an uncharted island known as “Skull Island”.  A Vietnam veteran helicopter squadron called The Sky Devils, led by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), is also recruited to accompany the Skull Island crew on their expedition along with  Major Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell) and Captain Earl Cole (Shea Whigham), who are both high ranking “right hand” members of the Sky Devils, and are responsible for escorting the entire team to Scull Island. Photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), joins the team as a photographer but is planning to expose whatever is found, believing it’s a secret military operation with dark purposes. So the team consist of a military escort, an expedition team that believes there’s something good to be found on Scull Island and a team of locals to track, record and help set up.

Skull Island proved difficult because of a storm they had to fly through to get there.  Once they arrived, to determine if the ground is hollow, Packard’s men begin dropping explosives developed by Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins), a young geologist and graduate of Yale University, recruited for the expedition by Monarch (a secret government organization) for his groundbreaking theories on seismology.  Conrad strongly objects.  The helicopters are suddenly attacked by a 100 foot-tall bipedal ape known as “Kong”, and many are destroyed. The survivors are split into two groups, their only hope for rescue is a resupply team that will meet them at the island’s northern end in three days time. In the meanwhile, Randa reveals his affiliation to the secret government organization Monarch to Packard and the expedition’s real purpose: to acquire proof of the existence of forgotten monsters, fearing that they may soon return to take back the world from humanity.

On the way they encounter a giant spider that kills one man before Packard kills it. One team learns there are local Iwi natives on the island and meets Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), an eccentric but wise and virtuous Chicagoan lieutenant of the 45th Pursuit Squadron who spent 28 years stranded on Skull Island since World War II. He knows the creatures of the island, and is a friend of the Iwi natives.  Marlow reveals crucial information about Kong.  The teams encounter many more creatures such as a large octopus, a giant stick insect, a giant buffalo, pterosaur like creatures, Skullcrawlers and a place called the Forbidden Zone.

If you think this is another King Kong movie, you’re sadly mistaken, it’s not — the plot, the acting, the special effects, the twist and turns, the suspense, the emotions, the anger and the overall message is worth every second you spend watching this movie.  Don’t judge Kong: Scull Island by the trailer, it is truly a work of art and every reason we go to the movies!

 

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