War for the Planet of the Apes ★★½

This third part of the new reboot is even more extreme than the second one in how it is the exact opposite of the beloved originals. Those old movies were rich in content and poor in makeup and special effects, which is a proper way to make a lasting impression. The new CGI apes are just incredible, and keep getting better for each movie. An ape may have less refined emotional range in its expressions than a human, but this CGI layer pushes this farther than I had imagined they could.

Too bad this technical excellence is wasted on a banal war story. Reluctant warriors avenging their families, labor camps, and one-dimensional faceless cannon-fodder opponents is like any old story that has been done a million times before. Making some of the characters look like apes adds nothing when their personalities, emotions, and motivations are entirely human. It worked in the original movie because the bizarro-world was shocking and horrifying. This time you could easily imagine the exact same story with all humans, which is quite a failure.