War for the Planet of the Apes is a 2017 American science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves from a screenplay by Reeves and Mark Bomback, and produced by Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. It is the sequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and the third installment in the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise. It stars Andy Serkis as Caesar, alongside Woody Harrelson and Steve Zahn. In the film, conflict between apes and humans has escalated into full war, and Caesar sets out to avenge those he has lost.
Development for War for the Planet of the Apes began in January 2014, after 20th Century Fox viewed Reeves' cut of its predecessor; his return was soon confirmed, along with Bomback's. A conditional 2016 release date was announced in May 2015, which led to a closer and faster pre-production relationship between writer and director. The film shares similarities to Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), with emphasis on the impact of psychosocial development and interaction of apes and humans. Casting began in August 2015 and finished that October, with principal photography commencing soon thereafter and concluding in March 2016, with filming locations including Lower Mainland and the Kananaskis Range.
War for the Planet of the Apes premiered on July 10, 2017 at the SVA Theatre in New York City, and was theatrically released worldwide by 20th Century Fox on July 14. The film received critical acclaim, with praise for Reeves' direction, Serkis' performance, visual effects, themes, emotional weight, Michael Giacchino's score, and Michael Seresin's cinematography. War for the Planet of the Apes was a commercial success, grossing over $490 million, and received numerous awards and nominations, including nominations for Best Visual Effects and Best Special Visual Effects at the 90th Academy Awards and 71st British Academy Film Awards, respectively. A sequel, titled Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, is in development with a release date set for 2024.
Plot: A ruthless colonel leads a paramilitary population in an attempt to find Caesar and his tribe of intelligent apes with help from traitorous apes the militia refer to as "donkeys". A platoon finds an ape outpost, but the apes kill most of them and capture the survivors before releasing them as a sign of peace. Caesar's eldest son, Blue Eyes, and friend Rocket return from an oasis while searching for a safer home. Caesar plans to relocate them at a later date due to the sheer size of the tribe, but later that night, the colonel leads a team in infiltrating the apes' home and kills Caesar's wife and Blue Eyes after mistaking him for Caesar.
Caesar, accompanied by Rocket, orangutan Maurice and gorilla Luca leave to serve as a decoy while the rest of the tribe leave for the oasis. While searching for information on the militia's movements, Caesar kills a paramilitary in self-defense and finds the man's mute daughter, whom Maurice befriends and later names Nova, giving her a rag doll. Some people who were also mute were killed by their fellow militiamen meanwhile Caesar's group encounter another intelligent ape named Bad Ape, who informs them that the militia is at a quarantine facility with an arsenal in the mountains. Joined by Bad Ape, Caesar's group find the humans, but Luca is killed and Caesar is captured. Inside the facility, Caesar discovers the rest of his tribe was also captured and being forced to build a wall without food or water.
Caesar learns that the paramilitaries are barricading the facility to fend off the United States army. The colonel tells that the simian flu has mutated, leaving the infected mute and primitive, so he have been ordering his people to kill the carriers to avoid a second flu pandemic. The United States army has been convinced that nature could be manipulated again to provide a cure and medicine. After sustaining punishment from the militia and a donkey named Red, Caesar eventually convinces the Colonel to give the other apes food and water while he starves in their place. Nova sneaks into the facility to give water and her doll, Rocket allows himself to be captured to prevent her from being seen. The next morning, the colonel discovers and confiscates the doll.
Upon discovering an underground tunnel leading out of the facility, Maurice, Bad Ape, and Nova coordinate with Rocket and Caesar to rescue the apes, but they get caught in the army's attack on the paramilitaries. Caesar sneaks into the colonel's quarters. The colonel had been infected by Nova's doll., so Caesar spares the colonel, who commits suicide. While escaping, Caesar attempts to destroy a fuel tank to take out the militia from behind but is shot by Preacher, one of the paramilitaries he set free. Seeing this, Red has a change of heart and kills Preacher before he is himself killed. Caesar detonates the tank, triggering an avalanche that kills the militia and the army while the apes and Nova climb nearby trees to safety.
The apes and Nova reach the oasis, where Maurice discovers Caesar's wounds and promises him that his son will know who Caesar was and what he did for the apes before Caesar dies.