‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ movie review: A corker of an adventure 

An image from ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’

Despite its slightly puzzling title, which suggests an earthly kingdom rather than a planetary one, the deeper mechanics of a world ruled by eloquent apes and unspeaking humans compel us to step past such trivial matters. Wes Ball ignites the ‘Planet of the Apes’ saga with a gripping 10th installment, weaving the strings of continuity within the storied franchise.

‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’

Director: Wes Ball

Starring: Owen Teague, Freya Allan, Kevin Durand, Peter Macon, William H. Macy

Storyline: A young ape undertakes a perilous journey to reunite with his family while uncovering profound insights about ape and human societies.

Run time: 145 minutes

Set three centuries after Caesar’s legendary rebellion, ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ portrays an era where the tables have turned—apes dominate while humans subsist in obscurity. Civilization’s trials are not lost on apes; power struggles arise amidst a desire for tranquility.

Amidst the Eagle chimpanzee clan, young Noa (Owen Teague), enamored with Soona (Lydia Peckham), and their companion Anaya (Travis Jeffery), embark on an arduous search for eagle eggs. Their quest is disrupted when a human’s presence is detected, and a catastrophic event sends Noa on a mission of family and resolve.

Headed by the ambitious bonobo Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand), Noa’s village comes under attack, embroiling his family in a struggle for power and progress. Driven by loyalty, Noa pledges to rescue them.

An image from ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’

An image from ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’

Noa’s search propels him into a world where revelations jolt his understanding of his past. Teaming up with the sagacious orangutan Raka (Peter Macon) and the determined human girl Mae (Freya Allan), he begins to uncover complex layers of history and aspiration among both apes and humans, including the defector Trevathan (William H. Macy), an ally to their cause.

The visual splendor of ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ is an absolute treat, with its awe-inspiring vistas and adrenaline-pumping set pieces heightened by state-of-the-art CGI, bringing a stark realism to the anthropomorphic characters. Ball showcases the grandeur of nature’s reclamation upon human edifices in a world that echoes the mystique of bygone civilizations.

Director Wes Ball, acclaimed for his ‘Maze Runner’ series, hesitated to produce a mere sequel to ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’. He wisely inaugurates a fresh triad, bridging the gap from Caesar’s narrative to the classic 1968 ‘Planet of the Apes.’ Reflecting on the original Cold War themes of Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel, the ongoing saga remains relevant, fusing riveting adventure with thought-provoking themes.

This cinematic gem not only thrills with its high-octane sequences but also stimulates the intellect, marking it as a true cinematic triumph. We now eagerly await the continued exploits of Mae, Noa, and cohorts, supported by breathtaking visual effects and heart-racing action.

‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ is currently showing in theaters.

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