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Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (2024)

Updated: May 31


The enduring legacy of the Planet of the Apes franchise returned to the big screen in May 2024 with "Kingdom of the Apes." This latest installment, directed by Wes Ball ("Maze Runner" trilogy), marks the fourth film in the reboot series that began in 2011 with "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." Set three centuries after the events of "War for the Planet of the Apes" (2017), "Kingdom" ventures into a future where ape society has flourished under Caesar's legacy, but faces a new threat and a potential crossroads with humanity.


The film opens with a breathtaking vista of a thriving ape civilization. Cities constructed from repurposed human structures blend seamlessly with nature, showcasing the apes' intelligence and respect for the environment. Gone are the days of Caesar's struggle for ape freedom; a council now governs the simian society, led by the stoic Alpha (played with gravitas by Kevin Durand). Here, we meet Noa (Owen Teague), a young chimpanzee ostracized for his inquisitive nature and questioning of established norms. This sparks an intriguing contrast – a society built on Caesar's ideals yet seemingly resistant to further evolution and open dialogue.

The narrative takes a sharp turn with the introduction of Mae (Freya Allan), a young human woman who stumbles upon the ape city. Humans are a near-mythical presence to the apes, and Mae's arrival throws Noa's world into disarray. He defies orders and helps her, sparking a connection built on mutual curiosity and a desire to understand each other's worlds. This unlikely duo embarks on a perilous journey that leads them to uncover a dark secret from the past, forcing them to confront the legacy of the conflict and forge a path toward a possible future for both species.

"Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" doesn't shy away from the franchise's rich history. References to Caesar's sacrifice and the war with humanity are woven into the narrative. We see the apes grappling with the weight of those events, particularly the lingering fear and suspicion towards humans. There are also subtle nods to the original Charlton Heston films, with glimpses of a decaying Statue of Liberty and references to a "forbidden zone" that could be a future version of the New York City wasteland.

The film delves into thought-provoking themes of prejudice, coexistence, and the burden of history. We see a society built on fear despite decades of peace, highlighting the cyclical nature of conflict if past wounds remain unhealed. Noa and Mae's journey becomes a metaphor for the potential of understanding and empathy, challenging both ape and human perspectives.

"Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" is a visual feast. The CGI used to create the apes is top-notch, offering stunningly realistic facial expressions and movement that seamlessly integrate them with the human actors. The action sequences are thrilling, particularly a captivating chase scene through a treacherous redwood forest. Owen Teague delivers a nuanced performance as Noa, portraying his youthful spirit, intellectual curiosity, and internal conflict. Freya Allan complements him as Mae, exuding a mix of vulnerability and determination. The supporting cast, including Kevin Durand and the ever-reliable William H. Macy in a cameo role, adds depth and gravitas to the story.


"Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" is a worthy addition to the franchise, offering a visually stunning and thought-provoking exploration of social and historical divides. While the film concludes with a sense of hope for a future of co-existence, it doesn't shy away from the complexities of achieving true peace. The film leaves audiences pondering the potential for societies to learn from the past and embrace understanding, offering a message that resonates not just within the context of the ape-human conflict but in our own world.

Whether you're a longtime fan of the Planet of the Apes franchise or a newcomer to this world, "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes" is a visually stunning and thought-provoking film that deserves to be seen on the big screen.

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