Noa (voiced by Owen Teague) in 20th Century Studios’ “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios)

Noa (voiced by Owen Teague) in 20th Century Studios’ “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios)

On the Screen: New ‘Planet of the Apes’ expands, brings new ideas to franchise universe

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” tells a story that feels more rooted in fantasy than the post-apocalypse vibe of its predecessors

It’s so great to have “Planet of the Apes” back in my life.

Though I had been nervous about corporate studios picking up the pieces and continuing the franchise after the stellar trilogy of films — released from 2011 to 2017 — that followed the ape Caesar as he sought a better life for his people, “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” immediately both distinguishes itself as an interesting new thing and revives the ideas explored in those films. It sets up a very bright future for an underrated titan of science fiction cinema.

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” picks up roughly 300 years after 2017’s “War for the Planet of the Apes,” and uses that leap forward in time to tell a story that feels more rooted in fantasy than the post-apocalypse vibe of its predecessors.

It follows Noa, a young ape played by Owen Teague who is a member of a small ape clan. Humanity is, now, so far gone that the apes refer to them as “echoes.” The film opens with a rite of passage, takes time to establish Noa and his friends, and depicts a verdant, peaceful world.

Noa is drawn from his home to go on an adventure aglow with fantasy-trappings. He makes friends, uncovers some of the mysteries of a world nearly forgotten, and finds himself at odds with a charismatic king — Proximus Caesar played by Kevin Durand.

Of course, though humanity is on the back foot, it persists — specifically in the form of Freya Allan’s Mae, a human being who exhibits a spark of intelligence and perception that the other remnants lack. She connects with Noa and the two start an uneasy friendship despite their prejudices for one another.

The film isn’t quite as thematically and emotionally dense as some of its immediate predecessors. It falls back on many tried and true “Planet of the Apes” concepts of coexistence, prejudice and civilization, but puts a subversive twist on them in ways I’m desperate to see expanded in follow-ups.

Also central to the film are thoughts on education and religion. The faded knowledge and teachings of not only human society but also the long-dead Caesar drive conflict in the film as many of its characters ultimately seek only greater understanding of the world around them.

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is an adventure film that’s full of an earnest sense of wonder. It proves “Planet of the Apes” still has interesting ideas kicking around and serves as a more than worthy successor to the trilogy of films that came before.

It’s exciting, it’s poignant and it’s stunning visually. Now on the fourth of the modern “Apes” films, it’s almost easy to forget just how incredible the emotional performances and sophisticated effects must be to realize each of its characters and the world they reside in.

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” will be playing this weekend at the Kenai Cinema and Orca Theater. Check showtimes and get tickets at catheatres.com and orcatheater.com. It’s also listed as “Coming Soon” at the Homer Theatre.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in Life

File
Minister’s Message: The way life will be

“Is this the way it was all meant to be? Is this what God had in mind when He created us?”

Photo provided by Art We There Yet
José Luis Vílchez and Cora Rose with their retired school bus-turned-art and recording studio.
‘It’s all about people’

Traveling artists depict Kenai Peninsula across mediums

Promotional Photo courtesy Pixar Animation/Walt Disney Studios
In Disney and Pixar’s “Inside Out 2,” Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith), Anger (voice of Lewis Black), Fear (voice of Tony Hale) and Disgust (voice of Liza Lapira) aren’t sure how to feel when Anxiety (voice of Maya Hawke) shows up unexpectedly. Directed by Kelsey Mann and produced by Mark Nielsen, “Inside Out 2” releases only in theaters Summer 2024.
On the Screen: ‘Inside Out 2’ a bold evolution of Pixar’s emotional storytelling

Set only a year after the events of the first film, “Inside Out 2” returns viewers to the inner workings of pre-teen Riley

Calvin Fair, in his element, on Buck Mountain, above Chief Cove on Kodiak Island, in October 1986. His hunting partner and longtime friend Will Troyer captured this image while they were on one of the duo’s annual deer-hunting trips. (Photo courtesy of the Fair Family Collection)
The Road Not Taken: A tribute to my father’s career choice

For the first 40 years of my life, I saw my father professionally as a dentist. Period.

Edward Burke is ordained a transitional deacon by Archbishop Andrew E. Bellisario at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Photo provided by Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church)
Kenai’s Catholic Church hosts diaconate ordination

The event was attended by roughly 300 people, nearly a dozen priests and deacons and the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau

Rhubarb custard cake is ready to be baked. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Rhubarb and running to lift the spirits

Frozen rhubarb just won’t do for this tart and beautiful custard cake, so pick it fresh wherever you can find it

File
Minister’s Message: Prioritizing prayer

I am thankful I can determine to pray about choices and circumstances

Will Morrow (courtesy)
The adventure continues

I rolled into Kenai for what was going to be just a three- to five-year adventure

Little Family photo courtesy of the Soldotna Historical Society
Ira Little poses in the doorway of the cabin he recently completed with the help of his buddy, Marvin Smith, in the winter of 1947-48. The cabin stood on a high bank above the Kenai River in the area that would soon be known as Soldotna.
Bound and Determined: The Smith & Little Story — Part 2

On Dec. 19, 1947, Smith and Little had filed on adjoining homesteads

Most Read