I went to a Planet of the Apes Marathon this week to see how well they flowed together. Really, it was to see how the character Caesar changed over the course of the three films. I’ve seen both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes a couple of times but it has been a while and this gave me the chance to remember some things about the films and notice some new things. The biggest thing I learned is that when you’re watching a trilogy that deals with a character’s development over the course of many years, watching them back-to-back-to-back really helps you digest those pieces.

Ten years has passed since Rise of the Planet of the Apes and humans and apes are at war. The movie opens with the humans attacking an Ape outpost while they are searching for Caesar’s base. After a couple of attacks and for personal reasons, Caesar decides to go after the ruthless Colonel who is leading the soldiers. A couple of his officers go with him and they find a young, human girl who can’t speak. Then they find a smaller ape who refers to himself as “Bad Ape”.

Bad Ape leads Caesar to a compound that the Colonel is using as a base but sees that his group of apes have all been captured. Caesar himself is captured and learns that they are to be used as forced labor to build up the compounds defenses. Of course, Caesar must plan his escape while also planning his revenge on the Colonel as the demons of his past and his darker side begins to take over.

Koba’s actions still play heavily on Caesar’s mind. He is haunted by what Koba did and haunted by the fact that he had to kill Koba.

In Rise, Caesar grew from boy to man. In Dawn, he went from man to leader and in War he becomes legend. This trilogy is very solid and tells the complete arc of the main character’s journey. You really need to see all of them.

There’s not as much “war” in this that the trailers would lead you to believe. However, it does remind me of the classic World War 2 film The Great Escape as Caesar becomes a prisoner of war who must find the will to free his kind.

Here’s my final thought on War for the Planet of the Apes and the entire Planet of the Apes trilogy:

Give Andy Serkis the Academy award, The Golden Globe, The Critics’ Choice, all of them. He has done something remarkable with this character and even though you don’t see his face on screen, you feel his presence and you feel the work he put into building the character. You sense how the character changes across the films and Serkis has grown as an actor each time.

If you liked Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, you will really like War for the Planet of the Apes. If you have not seen those two films, I highly recommend seeing them first because this is a true trilogy, telling the story of a character’s journey across the 3 films.

Also in theaters, this week, based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail, who connects with grad student Emily after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry who he's never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart. The Big Sick is directed by Michael Showalter and produced by Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel.

From the director of Annabelle, Wish Upon stars Joey King as 17-year-old Clare who is barely surviving high school. So, when her dad (played by Ryan Phillippe) gifts her an old music box with an inscription that promises to grant the owner's wishes, she thinks there is nothing to lose. Clare makes her first wish and, to her surprise, it comes true. Before long, she finally has it all: money, popularity and her dream boy. Everything seems perfect - until the people closest to her begin dying in gruesome and twisted ways. Now, with blood on her hands, Clare must get rid of the box, before it costs her and everyone she loves the ultimate price.

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