Planet of the Apes stars talk of trilogy's simian showdown

LONDON (Reuters) - The final film in the rebooted "Planet of the Apes" series will hit cinemas next week, promising an action-packed conclusion to a trilogy that has garnered both critical acclaim and box office receipts.

"War for the Planet of the Apes" sees motion-capture performance specialist Andy Serkis return in his role as Caesar, leader of a super-intelligent band of apes who take on an army led by Woody Harrelson's ruthless colonel in a post-apocalyptic setting.

Serkis said the conflict between apes and humans at the film's core was a warning against supremacist ideologies.

"If you think your species is better, if you think your type of people or your type of religion or anything that your set of beliefs is better than someone else's, then that is the road to ruin," he said.

Serkis's on-screen antagonist Harrelson, who has experience in dystopian cinema from his role in the "Hunger Games" films, said that he had been a fan of the renewed series before being asked to appear in it.

"It was a privilege to be asked to do it. I don't think it's that I'm drawn to that (dark sci-fi films), I'm just drawn - some things make sense. Some things you can't say no to."

"War" follows on from "Rise of the Planet of the Apes", and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes", and is to be the final instalment of this series, but not the end of the franchise altogether, said the film's director and co-writer Matt Reeves.

The original "Planet of the Apes" spawned a five-film series that ran from 1968 to 1973. The first film, an arresting science fiction classic that starred Charlton Heston, won an Oscar for its prosthetic make-up effects and was a critical and commercial hit, but the subsequent movies struggled to replicate the original's success.

(Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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