Battle for the Planet of the Apes 1973

This review is part of a series of reviews Journey to the Planet of the Apes to prepare for the newest installment.
You can find all the reviews here.


A man wakes up on a strange planet ruled by apes

Another man fights telekinetic mutants and blows up earth

A group of apes travels backwards in time
and becomes celebrities

The child of the timetraveling apes leads an
army of ape butlers to enslave humanity

Four movies, one continuing story have led and prepared us for:

A schoolbus shooting at apes!

in the ultimate finale:

The Battle for the Planet of the Apes!

Battle does us the favor and lets an ape summarize the story so far… and just hearing an actor try to read the convoluted plot to us is hilarious enough in this final nail in the coffin!

We are not yet in the future that Taylor discovered in part 1, no we are somewhere between although the ape costumes look distractingly familiar and some apes are even carrying the names of the future apes like Cornelius adding more confusion if this is just coincidence or time paradox again and if it is not, is Cornelius a descendant of this… ah what the hell. Don’t even try to think too much about what is happening.

Although I must say the ape-bible for sure beats our bible. Yes virgin birth and children slaughter at Christmas sets the bar pretty high, but damn those apes have a messiah whose parents could timetravel back and were hunted down – choke on that God!

The story is as boring as part IV and like part IV it has to import a ridiculous amount of backstory to get the movie starting and what happens afterwards is just uninspired. The plot is that apes are keeping humans as a sort of lesser race that is not officially enslaved, but aside from not talking the humans are pretty much the ones we get in part I, except for some consultants of Caesar.

But those humans are not the bad guys, the bad guys are the ones who will later turn into the crazies who live underground and pray to the nuclear bomb, the ones that live in the ruins of the ancient human civilization.Within 20 years something seems to have gone wrong, probably humans blowing something up and now the ruis are contaminated (thus creating the forbidden zone from part I).

Personally I think it was a bad decision to focus on the apes instead of this incident “you blew it up” that was hinted in part I. At the end of part I there was something in human nature that vanquished the face of the earth, which was quite scary, so scary the apes deliberately lied about their heritage in fear that apes might do the same thing. Now it is just a string of consequences that no matter what happens are never as striking as the destroyed statue of liberty, but I guess that’s the price you have to pay when making a fourth sequel.

After long and tedious musings about war and other fun things and an expedition to the human ruins the battle between apes and mutated humans finally starts, featuring apes acting to be dead, motorbikes and a schoolbus. The fact that it seems that the “battle” is about 20 people on each side running around takes a bit away from the feeling that this is the all deciding title giving Battle for the Planet of the Apes and when it is finally over one can only be happy that there is no “The battle after the battle for the Planet of the Apes”-sequel.

The Ending
After defeating the evil mutant humans Caesar finds out that his son has been killed by another ape somewhere along the plot, therefore violating the rule that has put apes above humans “Humans kill each other, but ape never kills ape”. In an uplifting psychotorture Caesar helps the killer to stumble and die and hence apes realize that they might not be so different and “better” than humans after all.

The movie ends with the ape preacher finishing this story to a group of children both man- and ape-offspring.

After finding the ruins of earth, blowing up earth, shooting the nice apes, killing and enslaving humanity this ending is surprisingly optimistic and the only reason this travesty of a movie is not the worst movie in the franchise.

The last few minutes are deliberately ambiguous about the fate of humans and apes – will Taylor crashland on Earth and find exactly what he found when we watched part I? Or will it be a different future where we lay our differences aside and learned to coexist? And if the future has been changed… well let’s say that would create a storyproblem that Terminator fans have tried to solve for almost 30 years…
The message of the movie is indeed very obvious but compared to a movie ending I have yet to cover it is at least interesting.

Aside from the last moments and the school bus this movie is just a waste of time, even more than Conquest. The ape makeup is as distractingly as ever and like Conquest you spend too much time with apes who seem to have only a limited range of emotions. As with the others this movie tries to bring in some kind of political stand and this has to be saluted, but it is in no way a good movie.

So ends the fifth part of this ridiculously contrived series and makes way for a new fresh and ambitious approach… or does it?

Wolfgang Verfasst von:

Der Host des Flipthetruck Podcasts. Mit einem Fokus auf Science Fiction und Roboter sucht er ständig jene Mainstream Filme, die sich nicht als reine Unterhaltungsfilme zufrieden geben.

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