2024’s third and best primate movie

Film review of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. Picture: ON FILE

By Seth Lukas Hynes

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Starring Owen Teague, Freya Allan and Kevin Durand

Rated M


Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is an enthralling continuation of the Planet of the Apes reboot series.

Generations after the events of War for the Planet of the Apes, a young chimpanzee named Noa (Owen Teague) must rescue his clan from the tyrannical ape Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand), and befriends a human girl named Mae (Freya Allan) along the way.

As with the previous trilogy, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes blends compelling drama and richly-developed characters with thrilling action.

Noa has an enthralling arc of courage and discovery, as he learns more of the old world and struggles to save his family and embrace his clan’s traditions.

Some of the best villains make sense but you disagree with their actions; Proximus is a ruthless zealot who twists the teachings of the benevolent ancestor Caesar from the prior trilogy, yet he is charismatic, ambitious and leads a vast, organised empire.

Unlike many modern effects-heavy blockbusters, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes uses beautiful real locations rather than flat green-screen sound-stages.

The gruelling action sequences make great use of nimble ape physicality, and through moving performances and extremely expressive CGI (which even models the apes’ faces, to some degree, after their motion-captured human actors), the apes can be deeply sympathetic or terrifying. Peter Macon provides insight and levity as Raka, a wise orangutan.

The one weak link in the cast is, amusingly, the human Mae; among the humane, affecting apes, Mae feels implausibly capable yet somewhat bland.

An animalistic thriller with some of the best drama and character writing of the year, Kingdom ofthe Planet of the Apes is playing in most Victorian cinemas.