Film Review: “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes”


  • Starring: Owen Teague, Freya Allen
  • Directed by: Wes Ball
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Running Time: 2 hrs 25 mins
  • 20th Century Studios


Originally intended to not be a franchise reboot, “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” becomes just that and I’m not so sure it is a good thing. The original rebooted trilogy of films – 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” followed by 2014’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” and 2017’s “War for the Planet of the Apes” – were all critically praised, financially successful and each received Oscar nominations involving visual effects. It all ended with a truly satisfactory ending to Caesar’s journey. However, sometimes well enough can’t be left alone and this is at least partly true for “Kingdom.” While it does have an interesting storyline, it starts off sluggishly and ends with more questions than answers.


Set many generations in the future after the events involving Caesar, “Kingdom” introduces us to the new ape protagonist, Noa (Owen Teague, “It”). A member of an ape clan that trains eagles, Noa and his friends live in a time when the ruins of human cities have become overtaken by nature and the wisdom of Caesar’s teachings have been almost forgotten. A brutal attack on his clan by a much stronger rival leaves Noa alone, putting him on a quest to bring his friends back home. Along the way he runs into a friendly Orangutan named Raka (Peter Macon, “The Orville”) who reveals to him the lost knowledge of Caesar. They also pick up a lost female human name Mae (Freya Allan, “The Witcher”) who seems different than other humans that predominately wild and dumb. Eventually, Noa discovers that his clan has been enslaved by Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), a theatrical ape obsessed with gaining technology he believes is stored in an underground bunker.

“Kingdom” is uninteresting in its initial scenes, resulting in the wish that more editing had occurred in post-production. It almost feels like watching a montage from “Avatar.” Originality what? The story only becomes intriguing once the intrepid Noa begins his quest to save his friends. Raka turns out to be a much more captivating character, albeit a short-lived one. What really draws you in is the tension between Noa and Mae whose agenda begs the question if apes and humans can ever coexist in peace.


Overall, “Kingdom” is visually stunning as the technology to create its ape characters only gets better with time. While its ending poses the basis for a new storyline, it doesn’t have the same creative or enthusiastic vibe as the first three films.


“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” receives ★★★ out of five.



Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *