Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Oh boy where to start? This film is the final chapter in the cyclical timeline of the Planet of the Apes. It opens with narration from John Huston, who is playing the ape whom gave Dr. Zaius his mantra, the Lawgiver. He is telling children of the tale of how Caesar came to be, and his trials and tribulations. It’s basically a previously on Planet of the Apes for five minutes but Huston makes it interesting enough with his performance.

We then see Ape City where Caesar has started a society where apes reign but humans live peacefully with them not as slave but definitely not as equals. Of course as the series has always stressed gorillas are predisposed to violence and killing so Aldo their general is a bumbling moron who hates humans and thinks he should rule. Not a very sophisticated critique of military dictators but I’ll take it.

This film does show us the beginnings of the ape society we saw in the first film, from the 3 ape castes, separated by “race”. Orangutans the logic thinkers, Chimpanzees the emotional thinkers and gorillas the stupid muscle ones or the foot soldiers. The series’ serious critiques more or less ended in the one preceding this one as this film makes no real effort to add to them, this was simply a simple blockbuster to follow up the Conquest. There is none of the cleverness of the original left there are element of the it but this is more of a last gasp than a triumphant hurrah, but it will at least show you that Caesar was more like his parents and he values peace. As for the beginning of the Planet of the Apes a single tear on a statue is all you have to complete the cycle. Also Caesar here teaches “Ape shall Never Kill Ape” and that is violated by Aldo, then Caesar himself to avenge his son, and MacDonald says himself “you might say, they just joined the human race” and that is all we get to remind us of the ideas of the series that intelligence just breeds conflict and that the apes and humans are no better or worse than each other. This film is okay not as great as the others but it’s only 80 or so minutes long so it does the job of giving you your Apes fix and if you’ve just been marathoning the series what’s another hour to spend with Caesar and the damn dirty apes? 6/10

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