Review: Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (2024)

Planet of the Apes is one of the few film series whose integrity hasn’t been diminished by this age of remakes, reboots, and re-imaginings. In fact, the saga continued to prosper thanks to an emphasis on concise storytelling, firmly rooted in the annals of classic science-fiction.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is a direct sequel to War for the Planet of the Apes but takes place centuries after Caesar’s death. Humans are now devolved into a feral-like state while ape tribes live in relative isolation from each other. However, a chimpanzee enamoured with both the teachings of Caesar and ancient Rome, aptly named Proximus Caesar, aspires to unite his kind and utilize humans for his own purpose, with force if necessary. When his tribe is captured by Caesar’s followers, our hero, Noa, embarks on a journey that leads him to question his world, its violent past, and what the future holds for both Simian and humankind.

With our story taking place so far in the future from the first remake, Caesar’s ascended to almost a Christ-like status, worshipped by all, but whose teachings have been interpreted differently by the varying tribes.  This comparison is even more relevant as there’s no physical proof of the ape’s existence. A lone orangutan named Raka poses as a foil of our antagonist due to him following Caesar’s doctrines in a way that promotes peace and mercy. Due to the ape’s philosophical nature and mentorship of Noa, perhaps he’s a precursor to characters like Dr. Zaius from the original series.

Planet of the Apes’ most impressive quality is its resiliency and ease of appeal to fans throughout generations, holding the interest of original moviegoers from the 1960s, and inspiring new viewers along the way. Kingdom not only continues this trend but reinvigorates one’s love and enthusiasm for the series due to its adventurous quality which captures the spirit of the original film and its sequels. Similarly, this addition to the series includes its fair share of social themes, which it conveys without being repetitive or preachy. There are plenty of nods and throwbacks to earlier entries that really tickled my fancy, in the form of subtle musical ques and numerous easter eggs; not distracting from the action at hand but serving as nostalgic acknowledgments of past events throughout the timelines.

Visually the film is equal if not superior to its predecessor with almost photo-resisted digitalization of our ape characters. Set pieces that seamlessly combine artificial computer-generated locations and those shot in real-time help immerse viewers in this creative world. As the movie is filmed in the lush coastal region of Helensburgh and the national parks of Yellow Rock Ridge in New South Wales it feels worlds away from the old Fox Studio ranch where the 1968 original was mostly shot.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is a celebration of longevity and a boisterous declaration of things to come. – Now showing cinemas everywhere from 20th Century Studios.

(2024, director: Wes Ball)



stills provided by Disney Australia  / New Zealand 



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