Take a Drink: for philosophical ramblings
Take a Drink: for references to any of the other films
Take a Drink: whenever gorillas are assholes
Take a Continuous Drink: “Ape Kill Ape!”
Do a Shot: for coups
Do a Shot: “No!”
By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
After what felt like a logical and emotional close to one of the darkest blockbuster franchises in history with Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, J. Lee Thompson and its producers decided to eke out one last entry in the series, logic, critics, and the audience be damned.
Like the dirty apes that they are.
Battle for the Planet of the Apes jumps ten, twenty… something years into the future once more, as Caesar’s revolt has succeeded and he now rules a peaceful ape society that lives in begrudging harmony with some human survivors. A trip to the ruined remains of… Los Angeles? New York like the first film?… anyway, some city, and discover that there are more humans left than they suspected, and they’re not as friendly… Neither are the gorillas, the perpetual assholes of apedom.
Whoaa… John Huston? Sure, his intro and outro are almost completely unnecessary, but we all can agree that the existence of Orangutan Huston makes the world a better place.
I have two Oscars!
Also, Thompson and his production designers create some cool environments on what is clearly a reduced budget, and Roddy McDowall is as good as ever, tired, more pessimistic, but bent on creating a new, better society.
About that budget…. much has been made of how disappointingly small in scope the final titular battle for the future of ape and humankind is, but really it is, and is portrayed as, more of a skirmish between two survivor’s groups, neither of which were all that big to begin with. Worse is the once-lauded makeup. Caesar’s is still good, but I can’t imagine how bad his mask has started to smell, and a new group of warlike gorillas are basically given Halloween masks, with eyeholes so big you can see the white dude underneath practically every one.
Trick or Treat!
The obviousness of the dialogue is at its series-worst here, especially the typical villain speech before he kills the protagonist, which ends exactly the same way they all do.
Honestly, the entire setup of the film is nonsense. After the tremendously bleak and polarizing ending of the last one, why are the apes and humans coexisting all happy-like in a big ‘ol hippy commune? How long has it been since then anyway? How the fuck are all the apes talking now when only Caesar could before, and breeding is the only way to make more of them? Is there any reason besides dollar signs that this sequel exists at all?
Perhaps the cardinal sin of the film is how it fails to deliver the one thing you can rely on from a Planet of the Apes film no matter how uninspired the rest of it is- a nice, dark, thought-provoking ending. Instead, we get a statue crying because… symbolism?
Wait, is Caesar trapped in there? Are there Medusas in this universe?
The final film of the original Planet of the Apes series often feels like it’s trying to squeeze blood (or, more accurately, money) from a stone to justify one last pass, but is not without a few small pleasures.