HAIL CASEAR: Andy Serkis reaches the end of the road as ape leader Caesar in War for the Planet of the Apes.
HAIL CASEAR: Andy Serkis reaches the end of the road as ape leader Caesar in War for the Planet of the Apes. Twentieth Century Fox.

REVIEW: Is War for the Planet of the Apes blockbuster or Bible epic?

FOR Planet of the Apes fans, the long-running film series is like a religion.

Never has that been more evident than in the latest instalment, with War for the Planet of the Apes taking on some decidedly Biblical overtones.

Two years after the events of the last film, Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his group of intelligent apes have been hiding out in the forest from the remnants of the US military.

But when an assassination attempt, targeting Caesar, goes wrong, the ape leader is out for blood.

Leaving the woods behind, Caesar searches for the human Colonel (Woody Harrelson). But can he gain his revenge and deliver his people to their new home?

The religious parallels are pretty strong in this film, with Caesar filling the role of an ape Moses, whose tribe has to pass through a series of trials to find the promised land. In fact, I'd argue this is a better Biblical movie than recent examples like Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

There's also some pretty obvious influences from classic war films like Bridge on the River Kwai, The Great Escape and Apocalypse Now.

Fortunately, the film is very well done, from the impressive writing and directing to the incredible special effects.

Like in the previous two films, Andy Serkis is so good as Caesar (with his performance achieved through motion capture) that you forget the character has been created on a computer.

For fans of the '60s and '70s Planet of the Apes films, there's plenty of references here, from the name of the Colonel's paramilitary group ("Alpha-Omega”) to the name of Caesar's son (Cornelius, of course) and, most importantly, the identity of a mysterious mute girl. (People who've seen the original 1968 film will guess her name straight away.)

Ceasar's story reaches an obvious conclusion here, but there's certainly room for the story to go further - perhaps with a remake of the Charlton Heston original.

If the next sequel is as good as this one, I say bring it on.