Review of Battle for The Planet of the Apes.

Economic students should study the Battle for The Planet of the Apes for a lessen in the law of diminishing returns. This fourth sequel to the Planet of the Apes is a lesson in cashing in, low rent sets, poor acting, nonsensical plot and ignorance of science. This film is as cheap as Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was.

After conquering the oppressive humans in Conquest for the Planet of the Apes, some 30 years before, Caeser tries to keep the peace amongst the humans and apes, albiet with apes in charge.

Gorilla General Aldo views things differently and tries to cause an ape civil war (of like 200 hundred monkeys). In the meantime, other human survivors learn of the ape city and decide they want to take back civilization for themselves.

This sets up the most ludicrous battle scene possibly ever filmed in the entire history of bad films. The army from the city rolls up in their 3 motor bikes, a jeep with a canon and a school bus and burns a few monkey tree huts. Sensing victory they interrogate Ceaser who calls the foxing Apes to arms and they actually win the Battle for the Planet!

Cue an Orangutang giving a history lesson to both apes and human children some 600 years in the future! Gasp Ceaser changed the future! Earth did not explode! Chimps and Men can live in harmony!

While the previous for movies had some pretty dodgy paradigms, Battle for the Planet seems to ignore the cannon and comes up with some pretty odd situations. You have to suspend your belief for a bit to accept that in 30 years all Apes and Chimps can talk and can rationalise about space-time continuums. You have to accept that a nuclear bomb can destroy a city but that everything below the surface can survive intact and that the electricity still works. You have to accept Caeser can set up an Ape City a day's walk from the city and that the bomb only destroyed the city and nothing else. You have to believe that in 30 years the Gorillas have formed an army ...of 30 Gorillas.

It also sounds like they cut out a scene which would have given the movie some real relevance to the Ape series, in particular Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

The cutscene was from the end of the film which shows the beginnings of the House of Mendez cult. The humans in the city are about to fire off the doomsday bomb but decide not to, as it would destroy the Earth. Instead, they form a religion around the bomb.

Overall, after the brilliance of the first 3 movies, the good effort of the third Battle for the Planet of the Apes is an Epic let down. Do yourself a favour and watch the original Planet of the Apes.

Conquest of the Planet of Apes: a film about conquering

Conquest: The act or process of conquering
Conquest of the Planet of Apes: a film about conquering.

The 4th movie in the Apes series takes place in 1991, 20 years after the events of the Escape from the Planet of the Apes. Cornelius and Zira are dead, but they gave birth to a baby ape who resurfaces as 20 year old ape with a monkey on his back about the treatment of his parents.

Apes have supplanted dogs and cats as household pets due to a virus killing all the world's pets and have replaced human servants as put upon personal assistants. The allegory is they are Black American Slaves.

The conquest begins as Caesar leads his chimp brothers in rebellion against the human oppressors by process of mutiny and then out and out revolt against their masters. This action is ultimately supposed to lead to the events of the Planet of the Apes movie but the Escape movie has created a predestination paradox or time loop. Something cannot come from the future to cause the future as the present has to happen uninterpreted to cause the future! Maybe the Battle for the Planet of the Apes will settle that one...

conquest of the planet of the apes movie poster picture review cornelius
The movie poster for Escape from the Planet of Apes

The film is particularly brutal in its depictions of violence against both beast and man. The finishing battle royale is a brute of a thing with apes blindly knifing Nazi styled guards and soldiers and bullet based massacres of charging apes.

The movie finishes with Caesar rejecting violence towards man but aiming to dominate them none-the-less with this speech:"But now... now we will put away our hatred. Now we will put down our weapons. We have passed through the night of the fires, and those who were our masters are now our servants. And we, who are not human, can afford to be humane. Destiny is the will of God, and if it is man’s destiny to be dominated, it is God’s will that he be dominated with compassion, and understanding. So, cast out your vengeance. Tonight, we have seen the birth of the Planet of the Apes!"

It was a tacked on ending. The first cut of the film had Caesar order the the execution of all the humans but test audiences found this too bleak and so Caesar's speech as added in. So as I gave praise for the film makers killing everyone in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, I take it away here for chickening out.

It's interesting to note that Caesar's name in Escape from the Planet of the Apes was Milo. I presume it was changed to reflect the life of the Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar.

Here's the ending on video:

Escape from The Planet of the Apes

Escape from the Planets of Apes is the second sequel to the original Planet of the Apes and its premise is to reverse the plot of of that movie.

Escape from the Planet of Apes Movie Poster

The IMDB gives the following synopsis"Cornelius and Zira, the simian ape couple from the first two ape films, flee from their doomed planet (after the events in Beneath...) in the same spaceship used by Taylor in the first film, and travel back through the same space/time porthole and land on late 20th Century Earth where they are received with fascination and fear from the people they meet."

I describe it as thus: Apes crash to Earth! Apes are Persecuted! Apes have a baby! Apes must Escape the Planet of the Apes! Tragic ending!

As has become expected by this time, the film makes good use of social commentary - the obvious is all there ape rights, equality for all. But it gets into the battle of the sexes, duplicitous scientists, abortion, forced sterilization and the question just about every sci fi movie about time travel struggles with - do humans have the right to alter their future?

It even asks the classic question - if you could, would you go back in time and kill Adolf Hitler?

Escape from the Planet of the Apes answers how the Earth got to the state it was in the first two ape movies. Cornelius described how a plague killed all the dogs and cats which lead to the enslavement of all the apes as pets who eventually revolted against man.

Overall, Escape from the Planet of the Apes is not as thrilling as the first two movies, suffering from third-movie-itus however it has it's moments and is a fun Sunday afternoon DVD.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes: Revisted

Beneath the Planet of the Apes: Revisited

Most sequels are over the top but Beneath the Planet of the Apes goes beneath the top to a world where religious zealots who worship an armed nuclear warhead go head to head with some grumpy gorillas intent on religious war in the name of their beliefs...

If this film wasn't released in 1970 I'd swear it was a commentary on the arms race of the eighties and nuclear politics or even the various American wars in Iraq with a bit of Islamic fundamentalism thrown in for good measure.

Or it could just be another movie about apes thinking they rule the planet.

The premise is that Taylor and Nova, our heroes from the original Planet of the Apes left the apes to go find themselves - instead Taylor found he was on Earth. They travel inwards from the coast and Taylor disappears...

An astronaut, named Brent, is sent on a mission from Earth to find the missing astronaut crew from the first film, and as his bad luck would have it he crashes on the planet of the apes, Earth, where he stumbles upon an underground city where the last humans have hold up in hiding from the dreaded ape army now out to exterminate mankind as man is not so kind to monkeys. He finds Nova and predictably gets caught by the apes. Then he escapes, Yay!

beneath the planet of the apes nova and brent tunnel Brent and Nova wearing the lastest Man Slave fashions

He finds Taylor and they get caught up in the battle between the humans and the apes. Having killed off every major character along the way, with his dying act Taylor sets off the atomic bomb ending the war between the animals and in doing so destroys all life on planet Earth.

Which is great because most movies chicken out and do the miracle rescue ending. Taylor damns them all to hell!

The movie explores themes similar themes to the original but this time focuses more on the use of religious dogma as a reason to go to war. It pits the seemingly cruel human religious zealots who want peace but worship a nuclear weapon versus the supposed morally superior Ape race who derive their faith from interpreting some old scrolls.

The movie has a great scene where the humans celebrate a mass in honor of the atomic bomb. Borrowing heavily from the traditional Catholic mass the movie succeeds in highlighting the absurdity of religion and blind faith in general. At the climax of the mass, the humans reveal their true selves to their god and in a great mini surprise, they remove their masks to hide some hideously grotesque faces. It's quite a horrific movie moment and for me the highlight of the movie.

beneath the planet of the apes disfigured human face pictureReason number 1 to wear sunscreen: The Burn

So in all not quite as riveting as the first movie but its set pieces where pretty good and with a fairly hectic ending, it gets two thumbs up as a pretty sweet lazy sunday afternoon DVD.

Planet of the Apes - Insert Appropriate Monkey Joke Here

Planet of the Apes - Insert Appropriate Monkey Joke HereSo like I broke into to Chucky's house and stole his Box Set of the entire Planet of the Apes series which is the original, Plant of the Apes and four sequels.

I saw this film as a kid back in the day when we only had two tv channels and thought it was a cool movie about apes. Nowadays as a grown up (of sorts, I'm still watching ape movies) I was able to enjoy the movie's themes as well.

The movie explores all kinds of themes, man's doomsday death wish and love of war. Racism and class war. Vivisection and the youth rebelling against the ideals of the dominant generation. It explores the hypocrisy of religion and the quest for scientific knowledge. With all these things packed into the film you sometimes forget that our hero is being chased by monkeys with guns. It almost sounds like Snakes on a Plane but less farcical. The farce comes in the sequels...

The score is excellent. At times the music mimics the jungle so we get a riotous cacophony of gorillas and chimp in the chase bits.

I presume you've seen at least the original so you know the basic premise and probably that the film has one of the most famous twists in a movie. No, our hero Taylor (played by a swaggering Charlton Heston) is not a ghost but a manwho faces his destiny when he realises he has been on the plant Earth all along.

At this time one is presumably to supposed to reflect on the the title of the film and how it not only refers to the apes but also the men that sent Taylor to his ultimate destiny.

Here's a great discussion on the other endings that were thought of during the scripting process.

And here's a video of the ending with a suddenly very depressed Charlton Heston crying "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!" which I realised I could still remember most of from when I saw it as a kid, it was that cool an ending.