Director: Don Taylor
Cast: Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Bradford Dillman, Natalie Trundie, Eric Braeden, Ricardo Montalban
Synopsis: Taylor’s space craft is found adrift in the ocean in modern-day. When it is retrieved, three apes emerge… Cornelius, Zira, and Milo. They have escaped the future destruction of Earth, and following Taylor’s return trajectory have ended up in our time. They at first cause a sensation of delight in society, until fears emerge that their presence may indeed initiate the simian uprising.
After the entertainment, this third instalment in the Apes franchise is a weird beast (pardon the pun). The first half of the film plays as a comedy, taking full advantage of the humour that would come with talking apes intermingling with society. Cornelius and Zira’s colleague Milo advises them against revealing their true nature, though when that nature is reveled, the comic timing of the moment is priceless. However, about midway through the film, before the point at which events turn serious, the comedy does stretch a little thin, to the point of being ridiculous. However, the film builds from that very serious turn around into quite an upsetting ending.
Unfortunately, this film does not stand up to the quality of its predecessors. There were points where my attention wandered, especially in the drawn out comedy. It is a shame, as initially to see the tone of the films lightened was quite refreshing, and given the circumstances on-screen, quite fitting. But the script did not know where to stop. Even when the film does drop the comedy routine, and displays the darker nature of man, particularly the nature of fear, despite an increase in quality, there is still not enough focus on pacing, and the inevitable ending seems drawn out, my attention once again wavering until the final frames. This is a disappointment, as these final frames, though upsetting, bring home the absurdity of man’s fear, then subsequently lays the groundwork for the next sequel.
This review will be shorter than my reviews for Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, if for no other reason than it lacks the same level of substance as is contained in these two superior films. The seeds of great ideas are here, but little more.
2.5 out of 5.