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Coming Soon

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Escape from the Planet of the Apes Reviews

Page 1 of 32

Super Reviewer

June 30, 2014
"Escape From the Planet of the Apes" is the third instalment in the Planet of the Apes saga, and it sure does know how to please fans of the series. After the abrupt and unsatisfying conclusion of the second film, we see that Xera and Cornelious have been sent back in time, giving information to the humans about the inevitable overtaking of the apes. This story is both funny and heartwarming and really makes you feel for these two apes throughout the entire film. It does a wonderful job exploring the differences between humans and apes. The script is well-written, which is funny, because it is helmed by the same writer of the previous instalment, and it is also very well-directed. With a much better story, I really really enjoyed this film.

Super Reviewer

December 6, 2011
Third film in the Planet Of The Apes franchise is an entertaining Sci-Fi action film that continues the solid storyline of the Apes films. Director Don Taylor directs a solid cast and he crafts a solid film based on a great script. For fans of the Planet Of The Apes, this third entry has a bit more to offer than the second film, and though the second film was decent, there was definite room for improvement. This film has a much elaborate storyline that is more thrilling than the second film, and I thought it improved on many aspects missing from the second film. This is a better constructed film with a better plot, and it has better acting too. The thing with this series is, is that there are good to decent to mediocre films. This is a good film that is entertaining, thrilling and well plotted to deliver a good cinematic experience for the viewer. I very much loved this third film, and with the cast and great story, you have a terrific third entry in a good series of Sci-Fi films. Sure it's not as great as the first, and it will never come close to being as good as the original, but this film has enough entertainment value to appeal to viewers looking for a good sci-fi adventure. Not a perfect film, Escape from the Planet of the Apes is nonetheless a good follow-up to the first film, and remedies the slightly lacking second film. A good film that is fun to watch. The cast and good story make this film worth watching.

Super Reviewer

August 9, 2011
Imagine you've just written a movie which ends with the world getting blown up, and then you get a telegram from the studio asking for a sequel! That was the unenviable position Paul Dehn found himself in in 1970 following the release of 'Beneath The Planet Of The Apes'. His solution? Go back in time and show how Ape World got started!

A U.S. spacecraft - missing for two years - crashes off the American coast. Aboard are not human astronauts, but three apes! Zira ( Kim Hunter ), Cornelius ( Roddy McDowall ) and Milo ( Sal Mineo ) managed to recover Taylor's ( Charlton Heston ) old ship, and have followed his path back to 20th century Earth. It is 1973. While Washington tries to work out what is going on, the apes are sent to a zoo. They must remain silent at all times to preserve their uniqueness. But, during an intelligence test, Zira blurts out that she hates bananas. Milo is killed by a gorilla in an adjacent cage, leaving Zira and Cornelius to face this strange new world alone. It is an interesting reversal of the premise of the first film; there we sympathized with Taylor, here we are on the side of the apes.

During a Presidential enquiry, Cornelius and Zira charm the observers so much they go on to become media stars. Soon they are staying in a top hotel, shopping in boutiques, invited to give talks, drinking champagne, and attending boxing matches. The world has fallen in love with them.

But Dr.Otto Hasslein ( Eric Braeden, giving a wonderful performance ), the man whose theories of time travel Taylor quoted in the first movie, is terrified that the apes have the means to loosen Man's hold on the world. When Zira announces that she is pregnant, his worst fears are confirmed. He gains the authority to interrogate the apes in an effort to find out just what caused Ape World to happen, and prevent it...

Another absorbing sci-fi tale by Paul Dehn, matched by smooth direction from Don Taylor ( no relation to Colonel George Taylor ), later to make 'Damien - Omen 2'. What distinguishes it from the earlier movies are its lighter moments; the General welcoming the astronauts back to Earth only to discover they are apes when they remove their helmets gets the film off to a good start. Zira then passes an intelligence test with flying colours, smiling mischievously at Dr.Lewis Stone ( Bradford Dillman ). McDowall was back after a one-film absence ( as was composer Jerry Goldsmith ) and his scenes with Hunter have an unmistakable warmth; when asked by the inquiry if he talks, he replies: "Only when she lets me!".

As mentioned earlier, the plot neatly reverses that of the first 'Apes'. Zira and Cornelius find themselves in the same position as 'Taylor', hounded by 'Dr.Zaius' substitute 'Dr.Hasslein'. The Bradford Dillman and Natalie Trundy characters function the same purpose as the chimp couple did in the original. Hasslein is determined to prevent Ape World from happening at all costs, yet by his ruthless actions he inadvertently contributes to its existence.

Ricardo Montalban has a small but memorable role as 'Armando', the kindly circus owner who provides a temporary refuge for the apes. This would not be an 'Apes' movie without a tragic ending, and this one is tragic indeed, with both Zira and Cornelius being executed by the state, although baby Milo survives. Dehn had the foresight to leave a loophole for another sequel, which is just as well as there were two.

Thanks to its humorous content, 'Escape' is probably the most highly regarded of the four 'Apes' sequels.
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

October 11, 2006
Chairman of the President's Committee of Inquiry: [referring to Cornelius] Does the other one talk?
Cornelius: [indicating Zira] Only when she lets me.
Everett J

Super Reviewer

June 25, 2011
Interesting way to keep the series going, since in the 2nd installment the world is blown up. Very campy, but overall a pretty fun and thought provoking film. Especially when you consider it is the third movie in the series, and it was made in 1971. That some of the things brought up 40 years ago would still be interesting ideas today is a testament to the story. The biggest issue with this movie, is there is little, to no action at all. It's basically all dialogue between mankind and these 2 talking apes from the future. While most of it is interesting, it does drag and become tedious towards the middle. However, it picks back up and has a pretty good ending. Very dated, but still entertaining for what it is.

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
The story is pretty good, it sort of reverses the original idea, the apes come to a planet with humans. It could have been better, though.
Conner R

Super Reviewer

September 12, 2010
After Beneath of the Planet of the Apes, it's hard to imagine a sequel could be possible. This really challenges and in turn strengthens the concepts dealt with in the previous movies. This has better costuming and effects, more on the same feel of the first. Even though we are not shown the extremely interesting Ape world this time around, the story and characters are so interesting that it is not even a problem. It becomes more of an obvious social commentary than the original and shows the tragedy and plight of man. It's always a question if Cornelius, Zira and Milo were meant to crash-land on earth or was their presence a time altering event. Is it possible for them to change the inevitable destruction of all?
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 18, 2009
I like this film just as much as the first, if not a little more! McDowall and Hunter are brilliant, I honestly believe McDowall should have been nominated for the Oscar but an actor in a Monkey suit would never be considered Oscar material. Shame. Anyway, this is a brilliant film!
Michael G

Super Reviewer

November 19, 2006
Escape From the Planet of the Apes doesn't even touch the original Planet of the Apes but beats the hell out of Beneath the Planet of the Apes. It basically reverses the roles from the original taking the series in a whole new direction. The premise is kind of interesting but the ending is depressing as hell and severs all ties with the original. Escape... is kind of gimmicky and really fizzles out toward the end, but the sad thing is the series won't get this good again.
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

August 3, 2007
One of the nicer Planet of the Apes movies where Zira and Cornelius crash-down on Earth and enjoy celebrity status - for awhile. When their secret from the future leaks out, they are wanted apes. There's a cute little baby ape involved too. It's fun seeing the public fascination with the ape couple.

Super Reviewer

February 26, 2007
Let's face it, all of the sequels to Planet Of The Apes were rubbish, but this one relocated to 70s america is not the worst. It has some charm; particularly during the courtroom sequence and when the apes get the "star" treatment on the talk show circuit, but it looks and feels like a cheap TV movie.
Dann M

Super Reviewer

March 16, 2012
How do you continue a series after you've obliterated the planet in a nuclear holocaust? Escape From the Planet of the Apes. In this third installment of the series Cornelius and Zira find themselves hurled back in time to 1973 and must find their way in American culture. Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter return to reprise their roles and are joined by Ricardo Montalban. While it starts out as a lighthearted comedy, the tone takes a dark and foreboding turn. And in typical Apes fashion, the film asks some challenging, thought-provoking questions while telling a compelling sci-fi drama. Escape From the Planet of the Apes delivers another powerful sci-fi adventure (though it does take a few liberties with the series mythology in order to do so).
Byron B

Super Reviewer

December 10, 2007
One year later and the budget was cut by another $500,000. Fortunately, Paul Dehn conceived a way to continue the sci-fi franchise after the catastrophic end of the previous film with only three actors who would appear in ape make-up. It is kind of a reverse adventure from the original movie. The script is thrilling, funny, and dramatic. In the book, the Apes did not live such a primitive lifestyle in a wasteland, so this sequel with Zira and Cornelius enjoying modern conveniences of 1970s America gets back to some of the themes of Boulle's novel. Plus it is a joy to see Kim Hunter as Zira and Roddy McDowall as Cornelius, two exceedingly charming characters, reunited. Natalie Trundy goes from mutant human in the previous film to Zira's counterpart in animal psychology. Her character isn't really given much to do. Bradford Dillman is another sympathetic animal psychologist, Dr. Lewis Dixon. Soap opera actor Eric Braeden is the evil Dr. Otto Hasslein. He's a scientific adviser to the president of the United States. At first the threat is seen as the nuclear disaster that the apes from the future report. But as the blame falls to the gorillas, rather than the futuristic (or current) engineers of the bomb, the humans, and Dr. Otto has trouble conceiving of humankind being responsible, rather than the intelligent talking chimpanzees, the movie becomes about xenophobia. Those in power are threatened when they find out Zira and Cornelius are expecting a baby. Ricardo Montalban is another sympathetic human, who as the owner of a circus, helps to hide our heroes. I was reminded when I recently rewatched this that Zira chooses to name the baby Milo after the chimpanzee doctor who died earlier in the film. Why Montalban's character Armando suddenly calls him Caesar in the next film is never explained. It's a downer of an ending, but it can plant a nagging seed in your mind that we should make every attempt to change the future for the better. More so than the previous film, it is a cautionary tale to not treat outsiders as possessing fewer rights than ourselves and to look inside rather than outside when looking to place blame for potential world disaster.

Super Reviewer

March 31, 2014
I revisited yesterday this movie, after so many years, and I still enjoyed it. This science fiction film directed by Don Taylor, is starring Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Bradford Dillman and Ricardo Montalbán. It is the third of five films in the original Planet of the Apes series produced by Arthur P. Jacobs. If you read my reviews you will know that I didn't particularly like the second Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), but this one is bringing the series back to the track!

The story begins by establishing that three apes-Cornelius, Zira, and Dr. Milo (played by Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, and Sal Mineo, respectively)-escaped the Earth's destruction by salvaging and repairing the astronaut Taylor's spaceship (which sank in the first movie) and piloting it through the shock wave of Earth's destruction, sending the ship through a time warp. The apes arrive on Earth in 1973, splashing down on the Pacific coast. They are transported to a secluded ward of the Los Angeles Zoo, under the observation of two scientists, Stephanie Branton (Natalie Trundy) and Lewis Dixon (Bradford Dillman). When the apes' power of speech is revealed a special presidential commission is ready for questioning! The interesting thing about this movie is that the plot centres around many social issues of the day including scientific experimentation on animals, nuclear war and government intrusion. It was more a constructive criticism of the society we live in than the chase for the escaped "monkeys". In the latter part of the film regarding the chase for Zira, Cornelius and their son make references to the racial conflicts and a few religious overtones to the story of Jesus - a line of dialogue even has the President comparing the plan to kill an unborn child to the Massacre of the Innocents.

While Kim Hunter had to be convinced by the studio to make the previous sequel, she liked the script for Escape from the Planet of the Apes and accepted to work on it, though Hunter also stated that "I was very glad I was killed off" and Zira was not required anymore after that film. The film got the best reviews of the four Planet of the Apes sequels. It was followed by Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

I enjoyed the solid acting, the directing was old fashioned for the action scenes, but that was the sign of the times, the rest was appealing. Jerry Goldsmith was back as a composer of the music and he did what he knows the best possible way. Enjoyable viewing if you are the fan.
Christopher J.
Christopher J.

Super Reviewer

August 8, 2011
Rating : ★★★

Well what can I say about this sequel. Well first of all it feels like a spin off movie and no relation to the apes series. But then why did I find it so good?

The film begins over two years after Taylor and Brent had disappeared in space, with a spaceship floating in the ocean and military personnel scrambling to rescue those on board. Three astronauts emerge from the wreckage, but when they remove their helmets, military personnel respond with shock, for the three are really apes.

Now I found the premise pretty interesting and it is essentially a reverse of the original film in which Apes travel back to modern day whilst humans were still the dominant species. Its plot also revolves around many social issues of the day including race, social status, scientific experimentation on animals, nuclear war and government intrusion as well as women's rights.

Now I was quite gutted we didn't get much of the original type but after the events of the last film, how could have we? I am also happy that this film went as far as to explain pretty much how the Apes got them there to the best of their ability but still retaining the science side of the wonders of space.

The performances are all done well here and the new characters were interesting and welcomed. One again Planet of the Apes does not fail to leave a shocker of an ending and definitely left it open for a new series of films.

In a way I think the series should have ending with the last movie especially with that ending but to be fair this sequel, whilst unnecessary, works pretty well and in a way, whilst not comparable to Beneath the Planet of the Apes plot wise, it's still a superior sequel. I look forward to seeing were things go in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

November 16, 2011
"Escape from Ape Mountain". Well, actually, considering what Taylor found at the end of the first one, this is more like the original "Escape from New York". Yeah, don't mention what he found, but mention New York, because that definately keeps it from being a spoiler. Oh well; if you don't know the twist by now, then you deserve the spoiler. No, but seriously though, I wish that this was as exciting as... I hear "Escape from New York" is. ...Hey, if you're judging me for not seeing "Escape from New York" and are the same guy who doesn't know the twist at the end of "Planet of the Apes", then you definately deserve the spoiler, but I don't feel like making the effort, because this film made me too tired. No, this film isn't that slow, but it certainly isn't quite as action-packed as its predecessors, and yet, I feel that it might just be more entertaining, which isn't to say that the film doesn't have its share of slow points that drag to the point of becoming unengaging, nor is it to say that slowness isn't the only dent in this thing.

I love how they've managed to make humanized monkeys look, to an extent, believable, but when they actually bring in a puppet of a real, animalistic gorilla, they all but have Kermit the Frog walk into frame. I don't know if it's because the production design is dated, or if it was just weak from the get-go, but eitherway, the puppet is fairly obvious, though not quite as obvious as the fact that its sounds were clearly third-party sound effects, because they didn't even try to make it fit with the rest of the sound design. The offputting tone set by some areas of the technical value is matched only by some areas of score, as well as writing. No, the screenplay isn't packed with simian references again, and thank Kong for it, as well as for putting in some actually really good lines in this, but there are some huge development points that I feel needed more exploration outside of mere exposition. Of course, that's not to say that I wouldn't mind a little exposition at points, because there is some character behavior that really needed some build-up. Yes, there are a share of missteps found in the film, but in spite of it all, there's so much more heart and drama behind this film, and all of that plays a key part in making this film arguably the most thought-provoking installment yet. It's certainly the most character driven addition so far, and that's what makes this film just as impacting as entertaining.

It's certainly a fascinating idea to see the tables turned, and director Don Taylor milks the concept for all it's worth. Taylor summons life and entertainment value in the earlier stages of the film, but still keeps the film down-to-earth enough to keep this fish-out-of-water tale from losing all seriousness. That makes the transition into the more dramatic aspects much smoother, and it certainly helps that Taylor knocks that department out, presenting the inhumanities in humanity in a fashion that tops any previous installment, in terms of thought provoking, but still pulls back enough for us to still see this as more than just propaganda. This is still a story, packed with intrigue and drama that Taylor does a solid job at manipulating to where you do get a definate emotional rise, which intensifies as the film progresses. Still, Taylor couldn't have established this much emotional resonance without the assistance of his leads, Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter, who's chemistry and charm really carry the film during the more fluffy parts, but when the drama does come into play, they carry the emotion and strength in their presence to really draw you into every beat of their struggles, and really lock into the Cornelius and Zira characters more than ever. I wish I could say that the film is as good as I'm making it sound, but it's not quite there. Still, although the film isn't perfect, it's still an effective twist on the saga that feels quite smooth and quite welcomed.

In conclusion, it has its offputting elements, as well as the periodic steam loss that this series is not unfamiliar with, but in spite of that, this twist on the storyline's introduction is as smooth as it is satisfying, thanks to Don Taylor's fine establishment of entertainment value preceeding thought-provoking, emotionally resonant drama, as well as strong performances from Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter, who play key parts in making "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" the thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying return to form for the classic saga that it is.

3/5 - Good
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

April 28, 2008
Known as the "silly" one, the third in the original sequence of Apes films is actually one of two halves. There is firstly the ridiculous concept to get through: Cornelius, Zira, and another rather short-lived ape manage to escape from the destruction of the Earth in Beneath and find themselves in 'modern day' Earth, where humans are still the ruling species and apes can't talk. Then, for the first 45 minutes, the film is stuffed full of jokes as the apes demonstrate they are intelligent, go to a press conference, go shopping, go to a hotel etc. What follows this is actually quite a tense, thrilling final 45 minutes, as the apes find themselves on the run from the humans who have misunderstood them through ignorance. There's also a couple of nice points that tie into the 2011 prequel film Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Then... there's that ending. Clearly trying to keep the precedent set by both Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the denouement is properly shocking and downbeat, elevating this third flick to the equal of its immediate predecessor.
a b

Super Reviewer

June 9, 2007
This is hilarious. Totally fake apes from the future walking around in suits sipping champagne!
Marcus W

Super Reviewer

June 7, 2008
And now (thanks to the magic of dimensional time travel), we have apes arriving in the 70's. Yep, it's role reversal time. It works too. The apes are treated as you'd expect, until one of them lets slip about the future of earth...

Considering how stupid the last one was, it was great to see that there's still some intelligence to be wrung from this saga.

Super Reviewer

June 20, 2007
You gotta watch it...cause you do...
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