Gotta fit more ‘of the’ in there somehow. Let’s really get that sucker going.

My memories of the few Planet of the Apes movies I have seen are vague and not particularly prominent. Like a birthday party you had three years ago, you know you attended, but damn if you can describe anything that went on beyond ‘a bunch of monkey business’.

Such handicapped, I enlisted the aid of my cinematic plus one and brought my Dad.

After watching Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes with him, I asked what he thought of it.

He nodded and delivered his package of paternal wisdom for that day.

“I’d see it again.”

The highest of praise.

Kingdom Planet of the Apes

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes starts with a brief funeral for Ceaser, the all important Ape Jesus who first learned to talk and led the revolution that resulted in the first Ape societies emerging and overtaking humanity.

Then it skips forward by an unspecified amount of time, ‘several generations’.

At once I’m impressed.

A brief link to its past, then Kingdom is right into its own story, neatly severed from any previous baggage.

The last few films become the mythology the completely original characters in this one have to ponder, they are now the mysteries of the past.

Kingdom Planet of the Apes

In an age of cinematic cowardice, where millions of dollars can only be safely risked on what’s proven to already work, wilfully jettisoning the safety net like that is a move that take some guts.

From then on in we follow a young, intelligent ape named Noah as his tribe of eagle raising Simians comes under attack and he becomes involved in the life of an unusually clever human while trying to save his people.

The greatest impression this movie left on me, one that will stick for a while, was the masterful presentation of its setting.

Human made buildings and urban features sit buried under layers of decay and creeping nature reclaiming it. The world is a jungle slowly overtaking the concrete and metal it’s growing over and some of the scenery we see on Noah’s journey is genuinely awe inspiring.

Kingdom Planet of the Apes

Never is it made more clear that this is a changed world. The potential of what we unleashed has been realised and we are officially dethroned as the dominant species on this planet.

We don’t get to see the big bad guy on the movie poster for a surprisingly long time.

We hear his name spoken, the bad guys are acting in his name, but we are well into it by the time he first literally swings onto the scene. He is first established as your pretty typical primal warlord type. Seemed the only difference between him and the Scar King from the recent ‘Godzilla x Kong’ movie was that he was much smaller and could talk… also the movie would have been a great deal shorter if he had an ice breathing, weather manipulating Dragon the size of a container ship on a leash, but I digress.

Plot unfolds and dimensions unravel. He gets a chance to explain what he’s about and at some point, the evil monkey dude starts making a worrying amount of sense.

You start to ask if he’s even wrong in the first place. On top of that, the heroes we are following are not necessarily following the same agenda and it becomes a question of who, if anyone, truly has the right idea about what the world should become.

The ending had me genuinely not knowing what was going to happen next. I wasn’t expecting the funny ape movie to have characters with damn near Shakesperian levels of complex motivations and secrets behind secrets but here we are.

By the time we are in the third act, we have multiple conflicting agendas between the main characters and we can’t be entirely certain any one of them is entirely wrong. Even the main villain has goals that at the very least make you hesitate to truly condemn him.

This is a world of Apes now, is it time for humans to really take a back seat? To retreat to our own little islands and let our successors take their rightful place?

Well the characters of the movie have a lot to say on the subject and by the end you won’t be so sure either way.

Kingdom Planet of the Apes
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Studios) Review
Film details

Year: 2024
Rating: M15+
Running Time: 145 MIN
Genre: Action
Director: Wes Ball
Starring: Owen Teague, Freya Allan, Kevin Durand, Peter Macon, William H. Macy
Production Studio: Oddball Entertainment
Distributor: 20th Century Studios

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Final verdict
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