War for the Planet of the Apes (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

War For The Planet Of The Apes 4K ReviewConsidering that both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes were two of my favorite films in the years they came out I felt confident War for the Planet of the Apes was set up for success.  After all, how could it not be under the studious care of Matt Reeves in the director’s chair once again.  That’s what you call a rhetorical statement ladies and gentlemen.  This final chapter in the trilogy is both an emotional rollercoaster and cinematic event not to be missed.  I could go on and on about how much appreciation I have for this one, but to do so would kind of be like putting the cart in front of the horse in this review proverbially speaking.  So let’s back up, take it slow and ease into this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review by covering all the who’s who in War for the Planet of the Apes, the third and maybe final installment thus far in the Planet of the Apes reboot series.  What say you?  I’m ready to get this bloody war started!

War for the Planet of the Apes (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)


I already spilled the beans up above about the director and all, but also I failed to mentioned he played an instrumental role in writing this one too along with Mark Bomback.  In addition to these aforementioned talented fellows War for the Planet of the Apes stars Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer and Terry Notary.  Just to note this adventure is set two years after the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes where Caesar (Serkis) and his clan of apes are still engulfed in a war against humans.  Furthermore, Caesar is still haunted by the memory of Koba, which with each passing day he himself wrestles with much the same angst that plagued his fallen comrade.

The way in which War for the Planet of the Apes opens is quite crafty.  We’re instantly greeted by some playful text announcing Caesar is a highly wanted man (err I mean ape), but it’s the soldiers sneaking up in the woods that immediately drops you into tension filled lives of the apes always on the run here.  Obviously, you’re going to need to go into this one armed with the fact that you’re about to witness a lot of monkey genocide.  There ain’t no middle ground or way around that here.  Sadly my fiancee won’t even watch this one because of that fact.  War for the Planet of the Apes is a long journey clocking in at almost two and a half hours and the whole time it is just one kick to the nut after another.  It’s very brutal in its approach and depressing/oppressive in its tone.  It’s NOT the feel good movie of the year.  It is a great movie though!  However, make no mistake about it, this isn’t your father’s Planet of the Apes despite the reminiscent aloof score of the older predecessors that have come before.  This is the continuing saga of Caesar’s plight to avoid war whenever possible, but protect his fellow apes and family at all costs (like any good leader really would do).

Speaking of Caesar though the guy just can’t let bygones be bygones.  As the ape population decreases due to its ongoing war casualties, Caesar wrestles with his inner dark demons implanted there by Koba (in the last movie).  He’s hellbent on avenging his fallen companions.  The heartache of it all though is it’s not all humans killing apes, it’s also apes working in cahoots with humans too.  Caesar has conflicting thoughts it seems whenever he comes face-to-face in confrontations.  He always seems to take the higher road.  Then “the” encounter happens which will forever forge Caesar’s destiny, the Colonel (Harrelson) of the plaguing human army makes his presence known to him in the worst possible way.  He commits an unspeakable act that Caesar cannot let go of.  Despite good advice form his trusted orangutan advisor, Maurice (Konoval), Caesar is unable to relinquish his quest to eradicate the Colonel from the face of the Earth.  See the Koba relation now?

The main gist of our story kind of starts here.  A small band of apes now become the hunters, but they gravely underestimate their human adversaries and aren’t prepared for what they’re about to find.  It’s a winter wonderland so to speak.  Therefore, a bulk of the film’s runtime is chewed up by the horrible predicament Caesar and his followers allow themselves to fall into.  Believe me when I say it’s nearly hell on Earth.  At times it almost feels like you’re watching The Passion of the Christ.  It’s literally that bleak and heartbreaking.  I sure hope no Batman v Superman haters are watching this.  LOL.  Relax!  I’m joking.  It’s in reference to how depressing this one can get at times.  There’s comedic moments here and there, but it’s definitely not your traditional pick-me-up summer blockbuster.  That much is for sure.

I don’t know what it is, but try as I might as much as I rooted Caesar on in the first two outings I have grown a bit wearisome now to his character’s plight here.  He’s obviously tired and so am I seeing all this horrible stuff happen to this poor ape.  I mean I feel for him, but it’s agonizing to see what his life has become for him because of his bad choices and ill human intentions.  I said it before and I’ll say it again that it’s definitely not the happy go lucky, quirky Planet of the Apes I grew up with in my childhood.  This is serious wartime here.  However, no matter how ultra serious and brutal things get there’s one character who always put a smile on my face throughout here.  No, it wasn’t the usual Maurice, but a new chimpanzee who goes by the name of Bad Ape (Zahn).  The way he talks, looks, dresses and interacts with others and his environments will have you in stitches throughout.  He’s definitely the bankable ace in the hole here.  Just the way he’s introduced is both brilliant and shocking too.  Enough said!

So long story short, War of the Planet of the Apes is epic, emotionally gripping and rousing all at the same time.  I will go on record though saying I did not enjoy it as much as I did its predecessors, but that probably has something to do with the grim magnitude of deaths throughout.  Characters you know and love are going to die here.  It’s heartbreaking.  I walked out of the theater a few months back loving what I just saw, but at the same time I feel like I was punched really hard in my stomach.  I walked out to my car with a very heavy heart.  I wanted so much to change the ending.  I still do.  It’s not climatic enough for me.  It’s the opposite.  I know it’s a start of where the apes go next in life and how they choose to live their lives and evolve, but it’s so damn depressing.  I still feel the same way after my second spin with this here too.  Now I am starting to sound like those Batman v Superman haters.  Sigh.  There was also nothing after the credits so when they roll you’re safe to bury your face in the Kleenex I hope you have close by you.

I read something on Facebook about how one writer wishes the Academy would pay attention to a film like this with motion capture performances.  Now I got to be honest with you.  Despite the long run time not once did I ever question the authenticity of an ape or an onscreen environment.  They all looked freaking phenomenal.  I may be just watching zeroes and ones, but it doesn’t feel like it.  I connected with the onscreen CG drama just like I would with any other human performance that has come before.  That’s a testament to not only Reeves and his direction, but the actors who performed the motion capture and how far we have “evolved” with the technology itself.  We’ve come a long way since the likes of Sir Jar Jar Banks.  In addition to all the mo-cap performances we still have the likes of Woody Harrelson in the antagonist role.  He was great and even at times a sympathetic villain.  However, I just wish that final battle between him and you know who went down better.  I wanted more of the revenge factor!  And the little girl you see in the trailers, poster, etc. well she’s the glue that keeps everything together.  Without saying a word young Amiah Miller will melt your hearts and that of the apes too.  I’m just saying!

So that’s about all I can really say about War of the Planet of the Apes without venturing into spoiler territory.  It definitely needs to be seen, but heed my warning.  Keep your Kleenex close!  It’s not a happy movie. There are numerous fist pounding, rousing moments and others of sheer laughter and enjoyment, but the sad factor outweighs everything here.  Caesar’s arc and storyline as the fearless leader of the apes comes full circle with things here.  You may or may not like the ending.  I absolutely don’t, but I’m selfish about it for my own reasons.  However, I guess the point I’m trying to make is be prepared, don’t hold back the tears and just lose yourself in this epic, cinematic journey Reeves, Serkis and the rest of the gang takes us on.  The Apes are STRONG in this one!  Bet strong with them.  Rise…Dawn…War!

War for the Planet of the Apes (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Fox’s War for the Planet of the Apes.  WSB’s Aaron Neuwirth covered the Blu-ray only version of the film here.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: Despite the sad tone of it all everything looks like a million bucks throughout here with pristine visuals and razor sharp detail.  Let’s examine how that is.  First of all the textures are insane here.  Let’s take the clothing for example.  The coat the little girl here pops with the utmost of clarity within the wool employed to create it.  Then there’s intricate details in all the military garb right down to the used weaponry.  Next up is the fur on those apes.  Holy wow Batman!  It’s exquisite down to the individual strands from the stray grays on Caesar’s chin to copper speckles on Maurice’s brow.  It’s also the little things that kill here too, which are all brilliantly rendered and captured throughout in this one like the tiny reflections of flames found in Caesar’s eyes.
  • Depth: Everywhere you look in this one the scope of things are deep, wide and forever ranging.  There are many examples of this too such as any scene within the woods and the apes’ village, constrained in the Colonel’s fortress and even the young apes escaping over the heads of the soldiers.  It doesn’t hurt things either that all onscreen characters have a clearly distinct three-dimensional pop to them all.
  • Black Levels: The black levels are all deep, dark and natural throughout.  Make no mistake about it this is a very dark film and lots of it takes place in the shadows.  Thankfully the HDR keeps everything in check to ensure nothing gets hideously lost.  Since it is dark contrasting moments like orange fire and explosions, green sight lasers and more pop with the utmost of ferocity in this one.  In other words I love the contrast!
  • Color Reproduction: For the most part this one is neutral like any good post apocalyptic film should look like.  However, give this one some daylight or sunshine and watch this mutha come to life.  Things look stunning in the daylight against the bright white snow from the orange fiery fur of Maurice to breathtaking pink blossoms growing on a tree.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones are spot on natural, authentic looking and accurate throughout.
  • Noise/Artifacts: I didn’t notice a single thing throughout that would make you mutter any unkind words against how things look here.

War for the Planet of the Apes (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)


Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of Fox’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of War for the Planet of the Apes.  WSB’s Aaron Neuwirth covered the Blu-ray only version of the film here.

  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD compatible), English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Dynamics: This one has a little bit of everything from the quietest, tender and most emotional filled moments to some of the biggest and bombastic ones I heard in the home front in quite awhile.  Yes, I’m talking about you Mr. Avalanche.  With a sweeping, rousing and triumphant score and a ferocious slay of gunfire and explosions throughout absolutely nothing gets lost in the soundscape here.  Directionality and priority of channels are discrete, balanced and fully in check.  This is a wide one friends.  I hope you enjoy the apes last outing here.  I don’t know how you couldn’t with such an exceptional surround track as this one.  It’s not always loud and noisy, but when it is watch out.  Your pets will definitely not appreciate the bass chaos.  Mine did not.
  • Height: There were plenty of Dolby Atmos highlight moments throughout such as the many explosions, arrows flying overhead, rain falling, war horns, sirens, helicopters, missiles launching and more.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The bass is what made my dogs take notice of this surround track, most notably the film’s bombastic and snow covered ending.  They were freaked.  Examples of superb LFE channel uses include gunshots, drums in the score, explosions, rough raging waters, punches and thuds, grenade launcher, an avalanche and so much more.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: The rear and surround channels were equally impressive as the LFE as not only were they also infused with many moments of extreme loss bass, but they literally engulfed you in the middle of all this monkey versus human mayhem and onslaught.  Examples of superior surround channel use include the many monkey screams, bullets spraying, arrows, waterfalls, wind swirling, grunts, groans and again so much more to list here that I don’t want to bore you with.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialog levels were clear, understandable and prioritized throughout the Atmos presentation.  Not once did I strain to hear any spoken human or ape words.

War for the Planet of the Apes (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)


The War for the Planet of the Apes 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set includes such special features as an audio commentary, exclusive deleted scenes with optional audio commentary by director Matt Reeves, behind-the-scenes featurettes, including “All About Caesar,” which focuses on Andy Serkis and his incredible performances through the three films as Caesar, bringing his character and his journey to life.  Additionally, the digital version of the film exclusively includes 10 Scene Comparisons, showing a side-by-side exploration of the actors’ performance captures above the final scenes in the film.  I mentioned the digital version so here it is.  This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set includes access to a Digital HD copy of the theatrical version of the film redeemable in either UltraViolet or iTunes (or both if you have Movies Anywhere).  Let’s take a deeper dive into the UHD and Blu-ray Discs and explore all the extras on them.

  • Scene Comparisons (HD) –  As I mentioned up above this extra is found only via the Digital HD copy and it contains 10 Scenes, which gives you a side-by-side comparison showing performance capture above the final scene.
  • Audio Commentary (HD, 2 hr 20 min) – This one is like Film School 101.  Here we have the Holy Grail, an audio commentary by Mr. Matt Reeves.  I can’t say enough good things about this man, what he has done for this franchise and just his humble take on all things filmmaking alone.  The Batman will be in good hands under his helm.  This one is the only extra housed on the 4K UHD disc.
  • Concept Art Gallery – Here we have viewable concept art for the following three categories: Characters, Drawings and Paintings.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 23:13) – Here we have a total of ten selected scenes as listed below with optional audio commentary by Matt Reeves.  The following times are based on the Play All option with no audio commentary.
    • Graveyard (1:56)
    • Turncoats (1:17)
    • Barrier Wall (:53)
    • I Owe You One (1:01)
    • A Great Man (1:34)
    • Do Not Lose Hope (1:37)
    • Snowfall (1:27)
    • The Colonel’s Speech (3:36)
    • Malcolm and the Dinosaurs (7:33)
    • I Am Like Koba (2:14)
  • Waging War for the Planet of the Apes (HD, 29:36) – This one is an in-depth documentary on everything about the making of War For The Planet Of The Apes.  From an introduction to the new story and characters to a behind-the-scenes look at the film, which includes training, sets, costumes, stunts and more.
  • All About Caesar (HD, 12:38) – This extra focuses on Andy Serkis and his incredible performances through the three films as Caesar, bringing both his character and his journey to life.  What else can you say about this man that hasn’t been said already?  Well you don’t have to say anything.  Let Andy do all the talking here.
  • WETA: Pushing Boundaries (HD, 10:35) – This one takes a look at all the technical advancements made in the making of this film from the apes’ facial expressions, new characters and thrilling sequences to the making of that bombastic avalanche ending.  It’s no holds barred here!
  • Music for Apes (HD, 6:18) – This one is pretty cool as we get to meet the percussionist who has worked on all the Apes films.  We also meet the film’s composer here too, Michael Giacchino.
  • Apes: The Meaning of it All (HD, 20:13) – Cast, filmmakers and cinema historians discuss the cultural phenomenon of the Apes films, and why they connect with audiences.
  • The Apes Saga: An Homage (HD, 7:46) – This one holds a special place in my heart as we explore all the highlights and elements from the previous Apes films and how they are either mentioned or referenced in the new trilogy of films here.
  • Trailers (HD, 6:53) – Here we have a Teaser Trailer (2:04), Official Trailer (2:23) and a Final Trailer (2:26), which also can be played continuously via a selectable Play All option.

War for the Planet of the Apes (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)


In conclusion here, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment presents to you War For The Planet Of The Apes, which is both Certified Fresh on RottenTomatoes.com and “one of the very best films of the year” (Kristopher Tapley, Variety) War For The Planet Of The Apes.  It arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray October 24th.  With exceptional video and audio presentations and 2 hours worth of extras what are you waiting for?  You have the opportunity now to bring home the third and final film on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray to complete your collection to one of the finest movie trilogies ever.  That’s right folks.  Bring Caesar home one last time.  Pre-Order your copy of War For The Planet Of The Apes on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray today!  Experience one of the most epic and saddest films of all time in glorious 4K.  You know you wanna!


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


War For The Planet Of The Apes

Assaults, Invades, Conquers and Saddens


4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

October 24th



War For The Planet Of The Apes 4K Review


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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