Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

Reviewed By Rob Gonsalves
Posted 04/03/07 13:16:09

"Caesar as Malcolm X."
3 stars (Average)

This was where the 'Apes' series really started getting bogged down in political allegory ripped from the '70s headlines, effectively dating the series (if also providing an interesting sci-fi filter on the era).

It's 1991, and humans have turned apes into pets because all the cats and dogs were killed by an outer-space virus in 1983. (I was thirteen at the time; I remember no such mass expiration of household animals. So much for the precognitive power of sci-fi.) Over the past eight years the apes got smart enough to be conditioned as domestic servants.

Enter Caesar (Roddy McDowall), the adult son of Cornelius and Zira. Caesar's friend Ricardo Montalban has kept him away from society. When Caesar sees how humans are brutalizing apes, he gets mad and starts planning a revolution. With a band of orangutans, chimps, and gorillas, he defeats the human army and gives a stirring speech.

It's the shortest film in the series, but it's lead-footed and erratic, with the climactic skirmish shot way too close in. Typical piece of hackwork from J. Lee Thompson, who also directed the next and last one.

It's the only PG-rated 'Apes' movie (the rest were G), probably because of increased violence and lots of electroshock torture.

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