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Laramie Movie Scope:
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Later Planet of the Apes history

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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May 15, 2024 – Advances in facial motion capture are evident in this movie that makes the talking apes look more like humans than ever before in terms of facial expressions. One thing about these films (this is the fourth in the reboot series, 10th overall) that will always be the same, and that is that they require massive amounts of willing disbelief in order for audience acceptance.

I looked in vain for Andy Serkis, the go-to actor for motion capture, in the credits. He played Cesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011) “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2014) and in “War for the Planet of the Apes” (2017). Andy's not in this one, but the motion capture looks great, and the faux apes have got a lot of personality.

In this story, we find a clan of apes living an ideal existence, noble savages, as it were, in tree houses in a forested land, not unlike the tree dwellers in “Avatar” (2009) and the tree-dwellers of Lothlórien, as seen in “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001). The main character is a young ape, Noa (played, under the fake fur, by Owen Teague of “You Hurt My Feelings”).

Noa is trying hard to live up to the example of his father, Koro (Neil Sandilands of “News of the World”) who is a master of eagles, but the eagles don't seem to like Noa. Preparing for an initiation rite, Noa gathers eagle eggs from a dangerous, high nest, but on the evening of the ceremony, a scavenging human, Mae (Freya Allan of the “The War of the Worlds” miniseries) accidentally bumps into him, breaking the precious eggs, without which, he can't be initiated.

He rides a horse into the night, determined to find replacement eggs before the ceremony the next day, but runs into a raiding party of hostile apes. Noa hides from them, but they spot his horse and follow it back to his home, destroying the village and taking his clan members prisoner.

Noa is determined to find his clan and free them. Tracking the raiders, he comes across Mae, and Raka (Peter Macon of “The Orville” TV series) an orangutan, who follows the teachings of Caesar, a great lawgiver whose teachings have been all but forgotten. Raka offers Noa a chance to read and learn the teachings of Caesar, but he is bent on finding his clan. Mae and Raka decide to follow Noa on this journey.

Mae has been pretending to be mute like most of the feral humans, but Noa and Raka are surprised to find that she can speak, and understands their language. Mae tells them she is on her way to the place where Noa's clan is being held, hoping to find a valuable human artifact there.

Noa and Mae find some adventures and decide to work together to get what they want, but neither one fully trusts the other. In the end, it is unclear if humans and apes can ever live together in peace. It is also unclear if humans and apes can avoid the mistakes of the old human civilization, whose leaders had a lust for power, but lacked the wisdom to use it wisely.

The acting is solid and the story is compelling, even if it is unbelievable. The talented William H. Macy appears in this movie as a very odd human named Trevathan, living among the apes. He seems to have divided loyalties, and his place in this story is a bit of a mystery. The power-hungry, manipulative ape leader Proximus Caesar is played by Kevin Durand of “Abigail.” This movie rates a B.

Spoiler Alert

One obvious flaw in the plot has to do with Mae's risky plan to obtain a device to allow her people to communicate via satellite with other human groups around the world. Even if this device works, and the satellites, dishes, ground stations and power supplies still work after years of neglect, and the other human groups somehow also have two-way access to the same satellites, the odds are stacked against this overly complicated plan. It would take a miracle for it to work.

Communication would accomplished much easier with old school two-way shortwave radios. The power requirements are way less. The radio equipment and antennas are far easier to obtain and use than a bulky, complicated, two-way satellite-based system. But even this absurd plot point pales against the underlying narrative that humans would, or even could, create a virus that somehow makes humans dumb and apes smart.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2024 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]