What’s up Apes fans?! War for the Planet of the Apes will be dawning upon us very soon, and the lovely people at 20th Century Fox invited us (me and my fellow Bomber Mickey) to a special preview screening of the film, which was followed by a mini Q & A session with the cast, director and two scientists who specialise in the study of primates and evolution.

Before we get to the Q & A session, let’s talk about the small preview of the film itself. This will be completely spoiler-free, so don’t worry you can read ahead unless you want the film to be a complete surprise, in which case cease and desist right now!

Still here? Well, let’s get to it.

We were given a preview of the first 45 minutes of the movie. It continues straight after the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Humans and apes are at war, but there are some apes who have sided with the humans to take down Caesar. The film opens up with the humans approaching a known ape camp and it all kicks off straight off the bat. I won’t detail much more about the film, but what I will say is that the first 45 minutes had me hooked. The apes all looked absolutely phenomenal, and all the set pieces and locations that this film took place in were amazing. Every moment was gorgeous to look at and it was shot in a wonderful way that allowed the audience to fully appreciate the beauty of the film.

As for the performances, Andy Serkis is, yet again, amazing as Caesar. The character has evolved even further in this latest Apes film, and there are moments where you feel such a strong empathy towards him and really feel his pain of having to fight a war that he never even wanted. One of the most delightful performances though comes from the newly introduced character Bad Ape played by Steve Zahn. Bad Ape was fantastic and brought a much needed light tone to some of the scenes within the film. Overall, after just the first 45 minutes of War of the Planet of the Apes, I was completely hooked and look forward to attending the multimedia screening of this film later on this month where I’ll write a full review of it here on Geek Bomb.

Now onto the actual Q & A portion of the evening!

This was a fairly quick session but it was still a very educational one. For the Q & A, we had the director Matt Reeves and two of the lead apes, Andy Serkis and Steve Zahn, come on stage. They were also accompanied by Zanna Clay, an assistant professor in Psychology, and Lauren Brent, a primate behavioural ecologist. This session was very much geared towards exploring the science behind the film and looking at how much is fiction and how much is quite close to science fact. One of the most interesting things to learn during this session was that birds are closer to being able to talk than apes are due to birds having the ability to reach various pitches. Apes lack the cognitive ability and neural connection to effectively move their larynx in order to speak, whereas parrots, for example, currently do have that ability, hence why they can repeat what we say to them.

When it comes to how the apes move around and interact with one another, both Andy and Steve spent a lot of time studying real-life apes to get a grasp of how to perform themselves. Andy spent a lot of time around ape sanctuaries studying their movement, whereas Steve took a very millennial approach of looking at YouTube videos of apes in zoos. Both methods are clearly effective, as both of their performances were fantastic on screen. This was a very eye-opening and educational session, and the event was another great one to have been invited to.

To end the evening, when myself and Mickey were leaving the building, Mickey noticed that Steve Zahn was holding the door for us — and in the most casual fashion ever, she grabbed a selfie with him. It was like they were old high school buds; maybe next time we’ll be at a party with him. One can only hope!

Be sure to check out War for the Planet of the Apes in cinemas July 11. 

Like what you see? Support Geek Bomb on Patreon!