War for the Planet of the Apes is a 2017 American science fiction action film directed by Matt Reeves, produced by Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and written by Mark Bomback and Reeves. A sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), it is the third and final film in the Planet of the Apes reboot series, and the ninth film in the Planet of the Apes film series. The film stars Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson and Steve Zahn, and follows a confrontation between the apes, led by Caesar, and the humans for control of Earth. Like its predecessor, its premise shares several similarities to the fifth film in the original series, Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), but it is not a direct remake.
War for the Planet of the Apes premiered in New York City on July 10, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on July 14, 2017, by 20th Century Fox. The film was a commercial success having grossed over $490 million. It received critical praise, with many reviewers highlighting the performances (particularly Serkis’), visual effects, story, direction, cinematography, musical score and emotional depth. The film received a nomination for Best Special Visual Effects at the 71st British Academy Film Awards, and was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 90th Academy Awards. It was also nominated for four Saturn Awards, including Best Director for Reeves and Best Actor for Serkis.
Two years after the human-hating bonobo Koba attacked the human survivors in San Francisco (in the previous film), Caesar and his tribe of intelligent apes have been at war against a rogue U.S. military faction known as the Alpha-Omega, led by a ruthless Colonel. The Alpha-Omega employs apes previously loyal to Koba, derogatorily calling them “donkeys”.
After a failed attack on an ape outpost by an Alpha-Omega platoon, the defending ape survivors capture four surviving soldiers, including one named Preacher, plus a “donkey” gorilla named Red. Caesar releases the humans, hoping to show the Colonel the apes are not savages; Red escapes by injuring the albino gorilla Winter.
Caesar’s eldest son, Blue Eyes, and his lieutenant, Rocket, return from a long journey. Blue Eyes reports that they found a place across the desert that is ideal for the apes. Despite an uneasy Winter asserting that the apes should leave immediately, Caesar decides they need to prepare first. That night, the Colonel leads a commando mission to infiltrate the apes’ cave system, killing Blue Eyes and Caesar’s wife, Cornelia. The apes are unable to find Winter, who they believe betrayed them to the Colonel out of cowardice.
As the tribe gathers to journey to safety, Caesar leaves his younger son, Cornelius, in the care of Blue Eyes’ wife Lake, and then departs to serve as a decoy for the others, while seeking vengeance against the Colonel for the death of his wife and son. Accompanied by Rocket, orangutan Maurice, and gorilla Luca, they enter a desolate village, where they find a soldier. After Caesar kills him in self-defense, they find a mute girl whom Maurice befriends, giving her a rag doll.
They find Winter, now a “donkey”, at an Alpha-Omega camp. Winter says that the Colonel has left, then attempts to call out for help, but the other apes restrain Winter and accidentally suffocate him. Caesar begins to worry that he is becoming like Koba, killing other apes in his quest for revenge. While following the Alpha-Omega force, the apes discover soldiers that were shot and left for dead. Their examination of a dying soldier reveals that he is mute like the girl.
After losing track of the Alpha-Omega, Caesar’s group chases a hooded figure who stole one of their horses and are surprised to discover he is another intelligent chimpanzee named Bad Ape. Bad Ape knows where the Alpha-Omega is stationed and leads them there. The location turns out to be a heavily fortified quarantine facility in the northern part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Attempting to get a closer look, Luca is killed by some Alpha-Omega spotters, and Caesar, after deciding to proceed alone, is captured. Caesar discovers that the Alpha-Omega has captured his entire tribe and is forcing them to build a defensive wall. Red brings Caesar to the Colonel in chains, who forces Caesar to work with the other apes, but Caesar inspires them to stop working temporarily before the Colonel threatens them into going back to work.
Caesar deduces that the Colonel is barricading the facility against the remaining U.S. Army, who are coming to fight him because he went rogue and for killing his own men. The Colonel reveals to Caesar that the Simian Flu virus has mutated and the surviving human carriers subsequently revert into a primitive animal state, thus becoming mute. The Colonel states that he has decided to kill any humans possessing this new mutation in order to try and stop all humans from regression. He has Caesar tortured with hypothermia and starvation to force the other apes to work. The mute girl, named Nova by Maurice, sneaks into the facility to give Caesar food, water, and her rag doll. To divert attention from Nova, Rocket allows himself to be captured and beaten by Red. The next day, the Colonel discovers and confiscates the doll.
Caesar, Rocket, Maurice, and Bad Ape successfully free the apes in a tunnel leading out of the facility. Caesar remains behind to confront the Colonel, just as the facility is attacked by the Army. Finding the Colonel infected by the virus from contact with Nova’s doll, Caesar decides to let him commit suicide rather than exact his revenge.
The escaping apes are caught in the crossfire between the Alpha-Omega and the Army. Caesar attempts to blow up a large fuel tank to take out the Alpha-Omega forces from behind, but he is shot by Preacher. Red, having a change of heart, intervenes, killing Preacher, and is immediately executed by another soldier. Caesar blows up the tank, which inadvertently triggers an avalanche that completely wipes out both the Alpha-Omega and the Army. The apes survive by climbing nearby trees.
The apes journey across the desert and reach the oasis. While the apes and Nova celebrate, Maurice discovers Caesar is mortally wounded. He promises to tell Cornelius who his father was and what he did for the apes. Caesar then dies peacefully as the other apes look on.
Andy Serkis as Caesar, an intelligent chimpanzee who is leader to a tribe of genetically enhanced apes.
Steve Zahn as Bad Ape, a chimpanzee who lived in a zoo before the Simian Flu outbreak and was a hermit before joining Caesar’s tribe. He knows how to speak human language, but unlike the other apes in the film, he does not understand sign language.
Karin Konoval as Maurice, a Bornean orangutan who is Caesar’s loyal adviser and friend.
Terry Notary as Rocket, a chimpanzee who is Caesar’s lieutenant.
Ty Olsson as Red (Donkey), a western lowland gorilla who was once a follower of Koba, serving the Colonel to defeat Caesar. Olsson previously played Chief Hamill in Rise.
Michael Adamthwaite as Luca, a western lowland gorilla in Caesar’s tribe. Luca was previously played by Scott Lang in Dawn.
Toby Kebbell as Koba, a bonobo who had previously waged war against the humans in Dawn; he now appears in Caesar’s hallucinations.
Judy Greer as Cornelia, Caesar’s wife.
Sara Canning as Lake, a chimpanzee in Caesar’s tribe, who is also Blue Eyes’ mate and later Cornelius’ caretaker.
Devyn Dalton as Cornelius, Caesar and Cornelia’s youngest son, and Blue Eyes’ younger brother. Dalton previously played Cornelia in Rise.
Max Lloyd-Jones as Blue Eyes, Caesar and Cornelia’s oldest son. Blue Eyes was previously played by Nick Thurston in Dawn.
Aleks Paunovic as Winter, an albino western lowland gorilla in Caesar’s tribe who sided with the Colonel out of fear.
Woody Harrelson as Colonel J. Wesley McCullough, the leader of the paramilitary organization the Alpha-Omega, who is obsessed with wiping out Caesar and his tribe to preserve humans as the dominant species on Earth.
Amiah Miller as Nova, a mute orphan girl whom Maurice befriends and cares for.
Gabriel Chavarria as Preacher, a human soldier working under the Colonel in the Alpha-Omega.