War for the Planet of the Apes Parent Guide

Not your average sci-fi/action movie, this third chapter in the Planet of the Apes franchise expects you to think deeply about what it means to be human.

Overall B+

Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his apes face off in a battle against the humans, who are led by the Colonel (Woody Harrelson). It's a war that will determine the fate of both species.

Release date July 14, 2017

Violence C-
Sexual Content A
Profanity B
Substance Use B

Why is War for the Planet of the Apes rated PG-13? The MPAA rated War for the Planet of the Apes PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, thematic elements, and some disturbing images.

Run Time: 140 minutes

Parent Movie Review

What would you do if you felt like your family, friends and even your very species was threatened with annihilation? Would you defend yourself? Would you try to obliterate the opposing force? What risks would you be willing to take? What sacrifices would you be willing to make?

All these questions come into play in this third chapter of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

In Rise of the Planet of the Apes a well-intentioned scientist accidentally created a virus that increased the intelligence of simians, but killed many people. With the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the evolving primates established a society of their own, but ran into irreconcilable differences with their human neighbors. The conflict turns into a War for the Planet of the Apes as both groups struggle for survival.

Caesar (Andy Serkis) is still leader of the primate population. His efforts to rally the troops to protect their women and children, as well as carve out a place for their kind, are at odds with the goals of The Colonel (Woody Harrelson), who commands an army of human soldiers intent on genocide.

While The Colonel has a very detached approach to slaughtering his enemy, the conflict becomes very personal for Caesar. For the first time he finds himself unable to forgive humans for their abuses. Sending his herd off to find a land where they can be free of oppression, he stays behind to seek vengeance. His quest is joined by a trio of simians loyal to him – even if they think his cause is unwise.

As the movie’s title suggests, this is a story of war and bloodshed. Although the depictions are not gratuitous, they are plentiful. Apes and humans alike are injured and murdered from gunshots, arrows, spears, explosions, chokings and beatings. Bodies and bloody injuries are shown. Apes are caged and forced into hard labor. Depravation, torture and a form of crucifixion are portrayed. Humans face man-made and natural disasters. Suicide and mercy killing are strongly implied.

All of this, plus a few profanities and some alcohol consumption, make this title a poor choice for young viewers. Yet older teens and adults may be able to see and appreciate the cautionary messages in this story that shows the kind humanity of the animals and the animal brutality of the humans.

Along with a strong script, this production features amazing motion-capture effects. Even though most of the cast are CGI creations, the characters always feel real and express powerful emotions. (This is especially evident with Maurice, a tender-hearted orangutan, portrayed by Karin Konoval.)

Not your average sci-fi/action movie, War For the Planet of the Apes will expect you to think deeply.  Borrowing a few themes from depictions of biblical characters in other classic movies (Christ and Moses), and displaying tenacity of spirit, this script may cause viewers to do a little soul searching while reflecting on the best and the worst of human nature.

Directed by Matt Reeves. Starring Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis. Running time: 140 minutes. Theatrical release July 14, 2017. Updated

War for the Planet of the Apes
Rating & Content Info

Why is War for the Planet of the Apes rated PG-13? War for the Planet of the Apes is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, thematic elements, and some disturbing images.

Violence: Two opposing species engage in frequent battles. The use of weapons (guns, arrows, spears, etc.), explosions, stabbings, chokings and beatings are depicted in detail. Bullet impact and some blood effects are shown. Humans and simians, including soldiers, women and children, are wounded and/or killed. Many corpses are seen. Characters are in perilous situations. Humans lock apes in cages, harass and abuse them, deprive them of food, and force them to do hard labor. Characters are lashed and tortured, and some are tied to wooden posts in a manner similar to crucifixion. An illness causes those inflicted to bleed from their mouths. A sick character is shot to be put out of his misery (not seen on-screen). A character commits suicide by shooting himself (heard, but not shown). Humans engage in a genocidal war. Characters are motivated by survival, prejudice, hate and revenge. Characters talk about the deaths and killings of family members. Beheadings are mentioned. Characters betray one another. Children witness the deaths of their parents. Characters suffer from nightmares.

Sexual Content: None noted.

Profanity: Infrequent use of profanity and slurs. Terms of deity are used as expletives.

Alcohol / Drug Use: A character drinks alcohol from a flask and bottle.

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War for the Planet of the Apes Parents' Guide

What are the reasons for the war between the humans and the apes? What motivates the human’s desire for genocide? What are the apes fighting for? How do things change for Caesar after his family is assassinated?

Whose side do you find yourself sympathizing with – the humans or the simians? Why? How do the apes display the best of human nature? How do the humans portray the worst traits of mankind?

This movie contains several biblical metaphors. How is Caesar like the Hebrew prophet Moses, who wanted to free his people from oppression and lead them to a promised land? How do the sacrifices The Colonel makes to save his people encourage him to feel like God? Why does he feel like he is engaged in a holy war?

The ability to forgive also plays a big role in this movie. What characters are able to let go of the past? Which of them continue to carry offenses? What consequences follow those who seek vengeance? How does a longing for revenge threaten the individuals who carry the grudge? How does their anger and hate endanger others?

News About "War for the Planet of the Apes"

Take 3 minutes and do your homework before seeing Apes #3!

If you haven’t seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes you may be going bananas trying to figure out what’s happening in War for the Planet of the Apes. Watch the video below and get the backstory!

Apes Influenced by Classic Biblical Movies

On opening day, War For The Planet of the Apes is being hailed by many conventional film critics as the best summer blockbuster of the year. One consistent thread many are noticing is the movie’s nod to major biblical themes and evoking movies like Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments along with classic war movies. In a recent Entertainment Weekly interview, director Matt Reeves says this was intentional. “We watched Bridge on the River Kwai,” says Reeves. “We watched The Great Escape. We watched Biblical epics, because I really felt like this movie had to have a Biblical aspect to it. We watched Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments. We didn’t go, like, ‘Let’s take a little bit of this, a little bit of that.’ When you surround yourself with something that feels emotionally right, there are connections that make sense to you that somebody else might not see…[the films] informed the vibe we felt about this thing.” (Read the complete interview on EW.com.)

Home Video

Related home video titles:

This movie is the third in a franchise. It follows Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014). This franchise is a reboot of a movie series that began with the 1968 film Planet of the Apes.

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