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FoCC Review: Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes – The Remix

By Jason Delgado

At the WonderCon 2024 “Directors on Directing” panel, Wes Ball said that his new film, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, is a “requel.” It was at that moment that trepidation for the movie set in on my part, and I turned to fellow FoCC writer Miclpea and said, “I hate those.” Requel is the new term for movies that are a hybrid of a remake and a sequel, such as The Force Awakens, Halloween (2018), Scream (2022), and others. They are remakes of the original film, yet still continue the story forward. I have enjoyed some of these films (e.g. Halloween) more than others, but the remake concept part of this subgenre still bothers me. I would rather see fresh ideas than something recycled, and I suspect that many audiences would agree, but Hollywood has other ideas.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes takes place many years after the last trilogy of the reign of Caesar, following a young ape named Noa (Owen Teague), along with Raka (Peter Macon), a wise older ape who knows his history, and a human named Mae (Freya Allan). Ball and the writers do an amazing job of getting the audience to care for these characters, while also providing breath-taking visual effects. The lush jungle scenery is hypnotic, but so is the slow-burn storyline.

This film takes the core theme from the Apes movies that have come before yet provides a fresh spin on it. There is still a divide and mistrust between ape and man, with apes being the now-dominant species in these films, but now there is an added theme of the twisting of history and words of the great Caesar that makes Kingdom such a compelling continuation of the saga.

The head honcho bad guy is the foreboding ape Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand), who, along with his clan of apes, often yells out, “For Caesar!” while committing atrocities. Raka explains to Noa that Caesar was actually against ape-on-ape or even ape-on-human violence, but over the many years, the meaning of his teachings has been flipped upside down. It is an all-too vital reminder of just how important history, and the meaning of things can be. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The action in setting up why viewers care for Noa in the first act has great writing, and this pays off in the frenetic finale spectacle, which would be meaningless without those emotional connections. The movie has a slow pace, but the intensity also builds after the first major event that sets everything else into motion. The surprises along the way are fun and nostalgic for fans of the films, yet there is so much more meat on the bone besides nostalgia, which only adds to the greatness of it. This is how to do a requel!

I give Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes four out of five hot sauce packets. It’s spicy enough to make you forget the past!

P.S. – There is an audio cue at the end credits. 

Jason Delgado

Jason is a CSULB film school alum and movie guy for Friends of Comic Con. He loves movies, TV, writing, comics, going to Cons, basketball (Lakers), music (all forms of rock + 90's hip hop), football (Chargers), his dog, and most importantly wife and newborn son. He's written a comedy/sci-fi script, and wants to write more in between raising a son. He doesn't often cosplay, but when he does, it's as Iron Fist. Follow him on Twitter @JasonDelgado78