Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes  (2024)

Movie Info

Movie Info

Wes Ball
Run Time
2 hours and 25 minutes

VP Content Ratings

Sex & Nudity
Star Rating
★★★★4.5 out of 5

Relevant Quotes

If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12:18
The wolf shall live with the lamb; the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the lion will feed together, and a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 11:6
Noa, Mai & Raka become an interspecies team. (c) 20th Century Fox

The Planet of the Apes franchise has come a long way since the 1968 film in which human actors had to use head masks and hairy body suits to portray the apes. But the conflict between the two species has remained constant, and as film followed film, special effects have made the apes more and more realistic. Even better, this new film, directed by Wes Ball, raises the question of the possibility of peace between the species, as well as containing some of the most awesome action scenes set in the midst of towering human ruins to be seen.

The film begins with the funeral of ape leader Caesar, who died at the end of the 2017 film War for the Planet of the Apes. The onscreen text informs us that hubris brought on the downfall of humans, a virus they were developing robbing them of their intelligence and ability to speak. The virus had a beneficial effect on the apes, the various species coming to dominate the planet.

The story begins “many generations later” when the apes have formed various clans or tribes, some of them as lustful for power over others as humans once were. Humans have lost the ability to speak, retreating into the forests and mountains in order to escape being enslaved by the more intelligent apes. Noa (Owen Teague) and his friends Soona (Lydia Peckham) and Anaya (Travis Jeffery) live in a chimpanzee tribe that has built homes in the remains of ancient  powerline towers to which they’ve added logs and tree branches. They are out searching in the mountain heights for an eagle’s egg  . The tribe’s rule is to always leave one egg when robbing a nest, evidence of their respect for nature and the eagles whom they train like falcons. Noa’s father Koro (Neil Sandila) is known as Master of the Birds, oversees the eagles.

They spot a female human out scavenging who follows them. In a scuffle with them she cracks Noa’s egg. The purpose of Noa’s bringing home the egg is to nurture it until it hatches, the newborn eagle bonding with him and thus becoming his life long. Noa sets out to find a new egg but comes across the bodies of slaughtered chimps. A raiding party of bonobos wearing armor face masks and armed with prods emitting electricity attacks them. Noa hides but is followed back to his village. The raiders knock him unconscious, kill his father and leave the village burning.

Waking up, Noa buries his father’s body and sets out in search of his abducted clan. He meets up with an  an orangutan named Raka (Peter Macon) who has become the depository of the teachings of Caesar. They discover that a human is following them, the same female Noa had seen before. Noa would ignore or drive her away, but the wise and compassionate Raka gives her food and a blanket—and the name Nova. They are taken aback when she speaks to them, revealing both er name, Mae, and the whereabouts of Noa’s clan. The raiders are from a large bono clan ruled by Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand), a leader as ruthless and power hungry as any of the humans had been as he enslaves neighboring clans of apes. His settlement is on the coast beside a huge door to a vault he has been attempting to open. He is assisted in his endeavor by another talking human, Trevathan (William H. Macy).

A series of adventures and tragedies ensue, including their capture by Proximus Caesar. He believes that if he can breach the vault’s door, he will access all he technology and information amassed by humans and thus accelerate his rise to power. He tells Noa, “Are you familiar with the concept of evolution? In their time, humans were capable of many great things. They could fly, like eagles fly. They could speak across oceans. But now, it is our time… and it is my kingdom. We will learn. Apes will learn. I will learn. And I… will conquer.”

Peter Jackson’s Weta FX company produces truly awesome motion-capture technology. And the sets of ruined , vine covered buildings, beached ships, and towers provide a realistic background to the thrilling action. The final battle against Proxima is indeed thrilling, with Noa’s eagle allies joining his clan in the struggle.

And Noa grows in compassion and understanding, observing at one moment, “Apes hunt humans. That is the law, but the law is WRONG!” At their parting, Mae says that humans deserve another chance, which the device she has found in the vault will provide. Noa wonders if apes and humans can ever live in peace. The film ends with a potential hopeful new beginning for both apes and humans, leaving us anticipating another sequel. Some viewers might also wonder if either apes or humans can ever reclaim Isaiah’s ancient dream of peace.

This review will be in the June issue of VP along with a set of questions for reflection and/or discussion. If you have found reviews on this site helpful, please consider purchasing a subscription or individual issue in The Store.

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