Battle For The Planet Of The Apes Reviews
The final of the films is the real low point of the series but its hard to blame the film makers, the budget was at a all time low here and the studio wanted a more lite family film here. The plot lacks the dark undertones and fatalism of the other films and an attempt to `get deep' at the end doesn't do it alone. The basic plot is a war between the mutants and the gorillas with the peaceful chimps and loving humans in-between. The action is average at best and the dialogue leaves no room for subtexts.
Worse still is the makeup which has declined far away from the standard set in the original. Here the actors clearly wear rubbery masks - General Aldo being the worst by miles! The mouths barely move and certainly don't move in time with the words. It's a shame but it does show how the standards of the first two films had fallen so far by this stage.
The cast are OK but the majority are trapped behind unhelpful masks. Even John Huston looks trapped behind a mask that almost totally renders him unrecognisable and unemotive. McDowall continues his monkey madness with yet another role and he's actually quite good. The human roles are the best as they are free to talk and the mutant leader (Eastham) even manages to get a few funny lines out before all the fighting kicks off.
Overall the quality of the makeup reflects the effort put into the film. The makeup is shoddy and the plot and subtexts are back of matchbox stuff. There are a few nice touches and it tries to add insight in the last 10 minutes but by then it's all a bit late......mind you it's still better than the remake of the original.
Caesar: Could you put that into words which even Caesar could understand?
Virgil: Uh, he said, "No, Aldo, no!"
First two parts are worth watching, from a fan view of point, but the third part must be a disappointment for everyone! Battle scenes were terrible, and you could almost feel the budget cuts there. Beginning was promising, and started as a flashback in the early 21st century, with a wraparound sequence narrated by the orang-utan Lawgiver (John Huston) set in "North America - 2670 A.D." He was telling a story of the ape leader, Caesar (Roddy McDowall), at least twelve years after he led the revolution in the previous film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. In this post-nuclear society, Caesar tries to cultivate peace between the apes and the surviving humans. A gorilla general named Aldo (Claude Akins), however, opposes this and plots Caesar's downfall. Caesar is married to Lisa (Natalie Trundy), the female ape of the previous film, and they have a son, named Cornelius (Bobby Porter) in honour of Caesar's father...
Initially writer Paul Dehn who had provided the script for every previous sequel was hired to provide a story treatment for the fifth film in the series, but he withdrew from the project without completing the screenplay due to health reasons. Screenwriters John William Corrington and Joyce Hooper Corrington were brought in after the success of their film The Omega Man - but there was a problem - neither one of them had written any science fiction films and they had never seen any of the Apes films prior to being hired to write the script for "Battle". Dehn was hired to come in and do a final polish on the script making minor changes to the script that the Corringtons had written. Dehn was given a story credit despite an appeal to the Writer's Guild of America for shared credit on the screenplay. Dehn claimed to have rewritten 90% of the dialogue and he altered the ending. The original script by the Corringtons ended on a playground with ape and human children fighting. Dehn chose to go with a close up of a statue of Caesar with a tear falling from its eye which Joyce Corrington characterized as "...stupid. It turned our stomachs when we saw it." At the end The Writer's Guild of America ruled in favour of the Corringtons for sole screenplay credit. The director J. Lee Thompson was both unhappy with the script as well as the scope of the production, which he felt could have used a bigger budget to assist in the portrayal of the "Battle". Thompson had agreed to direct without a script in place and regretted that Paul Dehn couldn't have been on the project throughout the writing process.
This was a movie with good music scores composed by Leonard Rosenman... I am glad he was back for this film.
Watchable, but I will suggest, go fast forward through the fighting scenes!
I really wanted to like this final edition to the series, but ultimately it's poorly done with a poor plot structure with a heavy B-Movie feel and it just seems to leave many plot holes and inconsistencies with the series which only makes it worse considering this is canon to the original apes series.
A decade after the Ape revolution and the war which has destroyed much of the planet and a Nuclear fallout, Caesar leads a small community of Apes and humans. While he tries to maintain a delicate peace between the two species, a threat builds from the still vengeful humans who inhabit the wrecked city's contaminated underground. At the same time the Gorilla's decide to begin an uprising within the Ape community itself.
While the plot sounds all good it just isn't executed well and the film just doesn't seem to have much going on in it. I can honestly say that the battle in previous film felt bigger than the one in this one too. The one in this film is merely a skirmish which is a shame considering the title makes it out to be the biggest one to date.
Some of the films plots have high potential but are just handled all wrong such as the revolution of the Gorilla's in Ape City. In the end the entire idea is shunned to the side in order for the battle to commence with the humans but is then drawn back in towards the end only to be shot down almost instantaneously.
There all also many plot holes. First of all in the history it is stated that Aldo was the Ape that said No but there is no indication in this film of him ever doing so, only getting angry when the human tells him no. Secondly when do the humans become mute? We are aware that Nuclear fall out has happened but they still have speech and when we flash forward to the year 2670 the year to be believed that the laws were set down the humans still have speech so when did it happen or did the script writers forget? Third when did the humans become inferior (ties in with the previous point) and finally the main point, HOW in such a short space of time did all the Apes gain superior intelligence and learn full English speech. This point is almost hardly explained and quite annoying for that fact.
On the other hand some things work nicely for continuity such as the explanation for the worshipping of the Omega bomb seen in Beneath (this is about the only film that Battle seems connected with).
This film was not terrible. The action scenes towards the end were pretty good and some of the conversations between the apes were interesting. But ultimately it is a let down due to poor script that gives a painfully incomplete closure to the Apes series. The performances are well done but the script makes it feels like an unjustified cash cow that if more time was spent on editing the script could have gave a solid closure to the series to build on the previous two instalments in the franchise. Well at least the mutants were not psychic in this film.
Now, I know that the premise sounds cool and compelling, but I hate to break it to you that, unfortunately... the film is cool and compelling. Oh wait, you were hoping that it would be cool and exciting. Well, prepare to be satisfied, but only for so long, because for every bit of pure entertainment value, there is slowness to the point of disconnect that will follow, partially because director J. Lee Thompson will often drag out some scenes that really don't need to be dragged out, especially when there are so many elements in what development there is that needs to be dwelled upon more. Now, it's not totally out of the question to suspend disblief, but there are some holes in this film's science, from an entire society of apes already learning to speak fluent English, to - as I said earlier - surprisingly little radioactive effect on the humans after the nuke hit. Well, for all we know, it was the least nuclear nuke in the history of bombs, but we'll never really know, because they barely touch upon that significant piece of story development. Now, I'm not saying that I want to see them simulate a nuke impact with the filmmaking sensibilities of 1973, because there is no way to make that look good, even for the time, but please give us some sense of the situtation so that the film will feel more developed. The final stages of this classic saga raises more questions than answers, but there's no denying that this is a genuinely enjoyable and, to an extent, satisfying capper to the original series.
The satisfaction that can be found here is highly debatable, but there's no denying that this series goes out in a blaze of glory, because what J. Lee Thompson lacks in storytelling - in terms of engagement -, he makes up for in action, making every action sequence heavy and captivating. Granted, much of what makes the action engaging might be the overloud sound design all throughout it, but eitherway, the action is exciting and well done, especially in the final act of the film, where the film really delivers on making this grand war sequence really hit home. Still, this film isn't all big dumb action, for although you are faced with many questions that you shouldn't have to ask, the closer of the film leaves you wondering what - if anything - has changed, and ultimately questioning whether this is the road to a new future, or the other end of this eternal loop that will spin forever. It's a fascinating final message, but that's not to say that the film doesn't pick up until the end. True, there are many unengaging spots, but that's something to be said about any "Planet of the Apes" film, and like its predecessors, this film knows how to quickly put itself back together, partially thanks to the performances, especially that of our lead. Roddie McDowall (Yes, I finally remembered the "a" in his last name) has left his mark in this series as the absolute best performer, no matter what (because lord knows Heston wasn't going to claim that position), and this film is no different. Here, McDowall takes on the often challenging "struggling leader" role, and doing it pretty darn well, establishing a strong tone of authority, but still exposing some "humanity" in the Caesar character to really play on the layers and pains of our lead to once again carry the film and pull you right back in, should you fall out.
As war dies down, we arrive at the end of this saga after going through the recurring flaws of periodic lulls in engagement, as well as a lack of story development and far-fetched science, but our final destination is a satisfying, rather thought-provoking one, which isn't to say that the road wasn't still paved with excellent action and a typically strong performance by Roddy McDowall, thus leaving "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" to stand as a generally enjoyable closer to the classic series.
2.5/5 - Fair