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10 Biggest Takeaways From Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Reviews & 86% Rotten Tomatoes Score

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Summary

  • The CGI in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes has impressed critics, making ape characters believable and relatable.
  • The cinematography has also been praised for bringing the epic scale of Kingdom to life.
  • Critics have been unable to agree on the dialogue and the movie’s character development.
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Reviews for Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes have been largely positive, although not all critics have agreed on the merits of the latest installment in the sci-fi reboot franchise. Set hundreds of years after the events of War for the Planet of the Apes, which was released in 2017, Kingdom tells a new story with new characters. Early indications suggest that it will be another fantastic chapter in the prequel to the iconic 1968 movie.

There are some details to remember before watching Kingdom, but director Wes Ball has claimed that his Apes movie can stand on its own two feet. His first crack at the franchise has gotten off to a good start with critics, but its Rotten Tomatoes score of 86% is slightly lower than both Dawn and War, which both broke into the nineties. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes has divided critics with its script and its themes, but it has been praised for its visual effects and its action.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will be in theaters everywhere on May 10.

10 The Visual Effects Are As Good As Ever

Kingdom picks up where War left off

Anyone who has seen the previous three movies in the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise will know that they should expect groundbreaking visual effects.

Anyone who has seen the previous three movies in the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise, or even the trailer for the newest movie, will know that they should expect groundbreaking visual effects. Fortunately, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes does not disappoint in that respect. Even the more negative reviews have noted that the CGI is fantastic, and that the ape characters are just as believable and relatable as the humans.

The special effects in the Planet of the Apes prequels have gotten better with each installment.Rise may have been a little sketchy in places, but the technology, and the franchise’s mastery of it, improved exponentially. War had enough confidence to use extended close-up shots of Caesar and other apes, and Kingdom continues this trend, while having even fewer human characters than before.

9 The Cinematography & Visual Design Are More Ambitious Than Most Blockbusters

The Apes movies are an antidote to bland blockbusters

Despite telling a new story with new characters, the Planet of the Apes prequels still engage with the legacy of the original movies in the most important ways.

Many critics have also noted the cinematography of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes as one of its major strengths. In a review for the The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney writes that cinematographer Gyula Pados “brings muscularity and hyper-agility to the visuals, which include some awe-inspiring scenic wonders,” and he is far from the only critic who has praised Pados.

Planet of the Apes is an unusual Hollywood franchise. Reboots are rarely ever as successful or as imaginative, especially without any returning legacy characters. Despite telling a new story with new characters, the Planet of the Apes prequels still engage with the legacy of the original movies in the most important ways, and the epic scale that the cinematography helps convey is a key part of this.

8 Kingdom Continues The Franchise’s Thoughtful Approach To Sci-Fi

Kingdom is an intelligent sci-fi movie just like its predecessors

Although the visual effects which bring the apes to life may be the most eye-catching element of the Planet of the Apes prequels, they are far more than just blockbuster action and filmmaking trickery.

Although the visual effects which bring the apes to life may be the most eye-catching element of the Planet of the Apes prequels, they are far more than just blockbuster action and filmmaking trickery. The Apes movies are some of the most intelligent sci-fi blockbusters of the 21st century, continuing the legacy of the original movies and digging deeper into political and philosophical themes.

Positive reviews have hailed the way that Kingdom continues this approach, even though the story is hundreds of years removed from what came before it. The key conflict in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is just as moral as it is physical, with the villainous Proximus Caesar twisting the words of his namesake to tighten his grip on a populace of subservient apes. The characters may be chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos, but their struggles are all too human.

7 Caesar Is Gone, But His Legend Continues

Some fans worried how the movie would fare without the franchise’s most iconic character

One of the major questions hanging over Kingdom has been whether the franchise can continue without Caesar, but his legacy still hangs over the events of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

One of the major questions hanging over Kingdom has been whether the franchise can continue without Caesar, but his legacy still hangs over the events of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, hundreds of years after his death at the end of War. The villain of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is named Proximus Caesar, and he is trying to use Caesar’s iconic status for his own personal gain.

This is one way that Kingdom maintains a link to the movies which preceded it. Director Wes Ball has claimed that audiences don’t need to be familiar with the three prequel movies that have already been released to enjoy Kingdom, but there are still some details which hardcore fans will pick up on. Caesar’s symbol is all over Kingdom, as are his most common sayings, including, of course, “Apes together strong”.

6 Freya Allan Delivers A Brilliant Performance

The young star of The Witcher lights up Kingdom

Allan’s performance is vital to Kingdom‘s chances, because there are only a handful of other human characters for audiences to gravitate toward.

Each Planet of the Apes movie has brought a new cast of human characters to bump up against Caesar and his tribe. Rise had James Franco, Dawn had Gary Oldman, and War had Woody Harrelson. There are usually a few other humans involved in the action, but Kingdom heaps even more focus on the apes and less on people. Freya Allan plays Mae, a human with more intelligence than the others, and the most important human character by far.

Critics have praised Allan’s performance, with Helen O’Hara writing for Empire that she has “unfailing intensity”. Her performance is vital to Kingdom‘s chances, because there are only a handful of other human characters for audiences to gravitate toward. The cast of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes also features William H. Macy in an important role as a human, but the movie is more concerned with the relationships between different apes.

5 Wes Ball’s Action Sequences Provide Several Highlights

The director of The Maze Runner had his work cut out for him following Matt Reeves

Ball didn’t seem like an obvious choice for the franchise, since his biggest credit so far has been the Maze Runner trilogy, but he seems to have risen to the occasion.

Director Wes Ball takes the reins of the Apes franchise from Matt Reeves for Kingdom, and critics have recognized his flair for large-scale action set pieces. Reeves was a tough act to follow, and his good work on Dawn and War was enough to get him into the director’s chair for The Batman. Ball didn’t seem like an obvious choice for the franchise, since his biggest credit so far has been the Maze Runner trilogy, but he seems to have risen to the occasion.

Writing for Roger Ebert, Tomris Laffly states that Ball and cinematographer Gyula Pados craft “large-scale action that is heart-poundingly tense, and more logically constructed than what we often see these days”. The Planet of the Apes movies are intelligent sci-fi thrillers, but they bring in just as many fans for their thrilling action sequences, so it’s important that Kingdom delivers the goods.

4 The Script Has Divided Critics

Critics disagree on the merits of the dialogue and the character development

The script seems to be one of the most divisive elements of the movie, with different critics appraising its sociopolitical commentary and its dialogue differently.

Not all reviews of Kingdom have been so positive. One of the major criticisms levied against the fourth installment in the Apes reboot franchise has been that its script is derivative and limp, although it’s important to note that many reviews have also had positive things to say about it. The script seems to be one of the most divisive elements of the movie, with different critics appraising its sociopolitical commentary and its dialogue differently.

In a two-star review for BBC Culture, Caryn James writes that even though the apes can speak in full sentences, “what they say in those sentences is pretty dull“. She also writes that “even an ape movie can use some character development and a decent screenplay”. While other critics have been much more generous, the script has certainly proven to be contentious, although this could be a matter of taste.

3 There Are Plenty Of Surprises In The Third Act

Kingdom keeps its big reveals a secret

Anyone who is on the fence about watching Kingdom can expect the unexpected if they do decide to purchase a ticket.

The trailer for Kingdom offers a glimpse into Proximus Caesar’s coastal community of apes and Noa’s tribe in the woods, but viewers who think they know where the movie is going can think again. Several reviews have noted that Kingdom saves most of its surprises, especially the ones that come later in the movie. The trailer and other promotional materials only reveal the basic premise.

Screen Rant’s review of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, written by Graeme Guttmann, states “It’s rare for a studio to not give away a film’s third act in trailers, so it’s refreshing that Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes retains many of the surprises in its back half.” This is an exciting tease, and it suggests that anyone who is on the fence about watching Kingdom can expect the unexpected if they do decide to purchase a ticket.

2 Kingdom Sets Up More Sequels

Director Wes Ball could have the makings of another trilogy

Wes Ball would be eager for more Apes movies if given the chance, and he has claimed that the relationship between Noa and Mae would be key to the franchise’s future.

It’s been seven years since War for the Planet of the Apes, so some people assumed that Kingdom would be the final send-off for the prequel franchise. Instead, it seems to set up a whole new era which could spin into many more sequels. Without giving too much away, some reviews have suggested that Wes Ball could have an entire trilogy on his hands, and that Noa could become just as important a character as Caesar.

No further sequels have been announced, but Wes Ball would be eager for more Apes movies if given the chance, and he has claimed that the relationship between Noa and Mae would be key to the franchise’s future. This would break new ground for the franchise, because no human characters have appeared in more than one movie so far. As the line between human and ape begins to blur, it makes sense that their roles in the franchise do too.

1 The Inevitable Remake Of The Original Looms Large

The Apes franchise might not be able to ignore the 1968 movie for much longer

The Planet of the Apes prequels have always looked as if they would eventually lead up to a remake of the original 1968 movie, even if it is told from the perspective of the apes.

The Planet of the Apes prequels have always looked as if they would eventually lead up to a remake of the original 1968 movie, even if it is told from the perspective of the apes. Kingdom jumps forward hundreds of years, meaning that the shadow of the iconic original movie looms larger than ever before. If the franchise does continue, it may eventually have to address the elephant in the room.

There has already been one disappointing remake of Planet of the Apes, and the reboot series has succeeded so far by taking a completely different path to Tim Burton’s much-maligned 2001 movie. In his review for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw writes “All that happens has to match up with what we know is coming.” Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes sets up a new era for the franchise, but any potential sequels may need to choose between facing a remake head-on or ignoring it completely and crafting a separate timeline.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Empire, Roger Ebert, BBC Culture, The Guardian.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Poster
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Set several years after the events of War for the Planet of the Apes, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the next installment in the Apes saga. Ape clans have taken up residence in the oasis that Caesar sought to colonize, but humans have reverted to their animalistic nature in their absence. Now battling between enslavement and freedom, outliers in the Ape clans will take sides in a newly burgeoning society.

Director
Wes Ball
Release Date
May 10, 2024
Studio(s)
20th Century , Chernin Entertainment , Oddball Entertainment , Shinbone Productions
Writers
Patrick Aison , Josh Friedman , Rick Jaffa , Amanda Silver
Cast
Kevin Durand , Freya Allan , Peter Macon , Owen Teague , Eka Darville , Sara Wiseman , Neil Sandilands



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