Battle for the Planet of the Apes – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: J. Lee Thompson

Cast: Roddy McDowall, Claude Akins, Natalie Trundy, Severn Darden, Lew Ayres, John Huston, Paul Williams, Austin Stoker

Synopsis: After the nuclear bombs have been dropped, Caesar has started to build Ape City, where humans and apes co-exist in peace, though the humans are kept in a subservient position.   Caesar seeks the wisdom of his parents, which MacDonald informs him may be found in tapes of the Presidential commission from when they first arrived in the past.

Now we reach the end of the original saga, as proclaimed by the poster shown above.   Bride of Film Nerd and I have completed a four night marathon.   We were entertained by the classic The Planet of the Apes.   We found the follow-up, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, to be a worthy sequel with some good ideas and shocking twists.   Escape from the Planet of the Apes showed how the story could come full circle.   Conquest of the Planet of the Apes covered ground which could have been guessed from its direct predecessor.   And Battle for the Planet of the Apes??   We found almost a complete waste of our time that added little if anything to the entire saga.

If it exists to tie up loose ends, there were not that many left.   Ironically, if there were loose ends that I can identify, none of them were satisfactorily covered.   Yes, we get introduced to John Huston’s Lawgiver, a mythical character revered by the Apes in the first two films.   His relationship to the story as a whole though is not established, with him simply thrown in as little more than narator.   Also, as he is relating the past, yet the first law he gave, Ape shall not kill Ape, is already establiched in this past, I spy a huge continuity error.   We meet the humans in the devastaded city… just beginning to  mutate.   Yet the actual final trigger for the bomb being detonated is not covered in any great detail.   Yet the final unexplained detail, is given that humanity after the bomb can here still talk, exactly what caused them to become mute by the time of Taylor’s journeys.

Rather, we are given a simple story which covers conflict between Casar, and his peaceful rule, and the more war-like General Aldo, a gorilla.   Caesar learns from the tapes taken of his parents that they fled an Earth which had been obliterated, a future he seeks to eradicate.   Even then, the ending implies success, but it is not very clear.   There is no catch-phrase here such as “There is no fate but what we make for ourselves” to make it clear future disaster is averted.

There is some good drama here, but mainly it is over-the-top idealism, philosophising, and with a number of pointless battles thrown in.   For a final chapter, I would have much rather seen my queries from two paragraphs above answered, rather than just another pointless action-adventure flick.   The same director is responsible for the travesties that are these last two films, a disappointing result from the man behind the original Cape Fear and The Guns of Navarone.   Really, I wish they had just kept the franchise as a trilogy.

1 star out of 5

Battle for the Planet of the Apes on IMDB

Battle for the Planet of the Apes on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]

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