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May 14, 2024 08:54AM ● By Jennifer Wardell

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (in theaters)

You wouldn’t imagine a sci-fi movie about intelligent monkeys to have a lot of real-world relevance.

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is surprisingly ready to change your mind about that. The latest entry in the long-running movie series, “Kingdom” keeps its action but also leans hard into some potentially interesting sociological commentary. The question of whether anyone can learn peace once they have power is a powerful one, and the fact that it isn’t answered leaves me interested in where the series is going next.

The movie is set several generations after the events of the most recent “Planet of the Apes” movie (released in 2017.) The movie starts as many fantasy and historical epics do, on a small, peaceful village that’s about to be decimated by invaders. These invaders, however, are hunting for a human, one that a young ape ends up allying with in his quest to reclaim his people. When it turns out the human is keeping all kinds of secrets, however, he’ll have to decide who he can really trust.

The movie takes for granted that you’ve seen and remember all the previous modern-era “Planet of the Apes” movies, so if you want the full experience you might want to refresh yourself. If you haven’t seen them, the ideas and world-building here are good enough you might want to catch up anyway.

Grade: Three stars

Dead Boy Detectives (Netflix)

It’s the most fun you can have with dead people.

“Dead Boy Detectives” is a delightful new streaming series, combining the verve of “Scooby-Doo” with the supernatural fun of dark fantasy world-building. With delightful characters all being played by great cast members, it’s hard not to fall in love with the entire crime-solving crew. Their adventures mix darkness and humor, adding in a heaping dose of twists and turns to keep things exciting.

The show focuses on two ghosts, the Dead Boy Detectives of the title, who stayed on earth to solve crimes instead of moving on to the afterlife. After trying to help a physic who’s lost her memories, they get sucked into a case that leaves them tangling with witches, dandelion sprites, and a huge snake. None of that, though, is as frightening as their greatest enemy – the bureaucracy of the afterlife.

Though it’s set in the same universe as “The Sandman,” another Netflix series, you don’t have to have seen that one to appreciate this one. The show explains everything you need to know, unfolding the story in a way that sometimes feels like a whirlwind but never leaves you in the dark.

Jayden Revri and George Rexstrew both charm as the titular detectives, while Kassius Nelson walks a careful balance to keep her extremely complicated character feeling real. Yuyu Kitamura is a delight, as is Ruth Connell in a completely different way. As the witch causing most of the trouble, Jenn Lyon brings just the right amount of everything.

Altogether, it’s the perfect show for people who like their mysteries dark, funny, and definitely on the weird side.

Grade: Three and a half stars

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