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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Updated: Jun 8

I've been a POTA fan for my entire life. I have fond memories of seeing all five of the original films in one 1973 day, opening night of "Battle of the Planet of the Apes", in an event 20th Century Fox called "Go Ape!".

I also really enjoyed Matt Reeves recent trilogy, so it's with high expectations (and some reserve) that I approached the first Ape film under the Disney/Fox banner.

Taking place three centuries after the last film in the series, KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is a captivating new entry that delivers suspense, action and heart.

We meet Noa (Owen Teague from "It"), climbing through the steel skyscrapers of the Los Angeles from centuries before, overgrown with so many trees and vegetation that they look almost like the floating formations of "Avatar". The special effects and production design are eye popping.

Noa lives a peaceful life in the shadow of his father, one of the tribe's elders. A simple act by Noa has ripples that end up attracting the attention of a war minded general named Proximus Caesar. Having twisted the words of the original Caesar into a message of dominant rule and violence, Proximus invades Noa's village in a devastating scene that reminded me of the tribal attacks in Mel Gibson's excellent film, "Apocalypto".

Noa is left alone and injured. He journeys into the unknown lands that Planet of the Apes fans will recognize as The Forbidden Zone and finds many secrets and surprises that I loved discovering alongside Noa, so I won't ruin ANY of them here.

Kevin Durand (The Strain, Lost) is excellent as Proximus Caesar, a fascinating mix of deadly for and saavy politician that kept me on my toes.

Freya Allan (The Witcher) is also superb as a human who seems to be smarter than most, putting her square in Proximus's sights.

Any film buff would agree that actor Andy Serkis took the entire art of motion capture acting to the next stratosphere as Gollum in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" and as Caesar in Matt Reeves recent trilogy.

He helped the actors on this film with their performances and it shows.

Peter Macon (The Orville) is off the charts great as Raka, a wise, old orangutan that Noa encounters on his journey. Macon is powerful and hilarious with his casual asides that will seem all too familiar to any human mentoring the younger generation.

Teague is excellent. The CGI face capture technology is so perfected now that the apes faces convey every tick, every emotion with precision. Seeing closeups of the characters on a giant Dolby Cinema screen, they are flawless without having that "too perfect" sheen that marred early CGI attempts. We're come light years from the de-aged Jeff Bridges of "Tron Legacy".

Director Wes Ball (The Maze Runner) and his team create a new adventure that had plenty of thrilling tributes to the Apes legacy. Creating a story that bridges the events of the past film, "War for the Planet of the Apes" and the original 1968 film, "Planet of the Apes", fans will find plenty of clever visual references to the original film.

Jerry Goldsmith's music score for the 1968 film is an all-time great and composer John Paesano references Goldsmith perfectly, especially during a scene in which Proximus and his army hunt humans in a corn field. It's an intoxicating blend of visuals and music that had me smiling in the theater.

The finale surprised me, going in very different directions than I predicted and it cleverly sets up the next film. This is the first sequel I've seen this year that actually has me excited for the next chapter. My mind is already going a million miles an hour trying to create the path ahead.

For me, this is the most exciting "prequel" of sorts since Gareth Edwards so brilliantly drove "Rogue One" into the opening scenes of "Star Wars". Clearly, Ball is going to take a couple more films to get there.

Saddle me up, I'm hooked.

KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES exceeds all my hairy expectations, earning an A.

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Unknown member
May 24

Another great review. This also happens to be one of my most anticipated movies of 2024. I am a huge fan of the original POTA franchise which starred Andy Serkis. Serkis set such a high standard for these movies through his groundbreaking motion capture technology. I'm curious to see how a sequel would turn out in his absence. He brought such a commanding presence to these movies that it's hard to imagine it without him.

My favorite Planet of the Apes film is the second one in the trilogy, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes". Here's why I loved that movie:

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2014) – Movie Review – The Film Buff (

Unknown member
May 25
Replying to

Thank you, Hassan! You can see the fingerprints of Andy Serkis all over "Kingdom". This cast is excellent and there are just enough respectful nods to the 1968 original to keep you VERY intrigued. Really enjoyed it!

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