Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for War for the Planet of the Apes.
War for the Planet of the Apes premiered across the United States last night, and since Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of my favorite movies, I was front and center to catch the latest film in this incredible series (literally, I was seated in the second row from the front, dead center). By the time the credits rolled, I was convinced I had seen not a modern day classic, but an all-time treatise on filmmaking. War is the best reviewed film in the series, and director Matt Reeves is firing on all cylinders, doing things with CGI characters that other filmmakers aren’t even conceiving.
It isn’t only Matt Reeves’ effects work which wows. Reeves handles his subjects and story with depth, fleshing out his characters, and deftly moving from plot point to plot point with nary a hiccup in pacing, and throughout, he laces his scenes with references upon references. From Apocalypse Now to the original Planet Of The Apes, there are Easter eggs abound. Some of his deepest cuts in the movie, though, circle around stories from the Bible. Speaking back in April, Matt Reeves explained his references for his latest movie by discussing all the films they went back and watched to pull for inspiration:
“We watched Bridge on the River Kwai. 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.”
By the time the movie was up, those references to Biblical epics were definitely visceral, but not everybody is familiar with them. Here’s a list of all of the homages to the Bible that I could think of, and if I missed any, hit me up in the comments below!