Director: J. Lee Thompson
Cast: Roddy McDowall, Don Murray, Natalie Trundy, Hari Rhodes
Synopsis: Young Milo, the hild of apes Cornelius and Zira has grown up. The year is 1991, and after a plague has wiped out all of Earth’s cats and dogs, humanity has taken apes as pets, but ten learning of their ease to train, have subsequently made them slaves. Milo, as the sole ape with the ability for speech, sees the mistreatment of his simian kin, and plans to retaliate against man, taking on the name Caesar in the process
It is proving true that with each subsequent apes film that the quality is decreasing, perhaps as the films were churned out with hardly a year between them. The original had flaws, but amazing ideas which have cemented it as a classic. Beneath the Planet of the Apes was better shot, and though not quite as revolutionary, had important ideas. Escape from the Planet of the Apes addressed man’s fear of the future, but was very disjointed. In the case of conquest however, it provides nothing new, and the story on-screen can well have been guessed by the information already provided in previous instalments.
Cornelius and Zira had already informed humanity of what the future held. The plague of Earth’s pets was described, the subsequent enslaving of the simian race, and then the advent where one ape replied to its owner with the one word it was used to hearing above all others… no. All of this information essentially summarises the film. Also, the fact that Milo was saved by his parents and was the one talking ape at that stage was also established at the end of the same film. It was therefore no stretch of the imagination that Milo, adopting the name Caesar, was going to be the same ape to stand up against the homo sapien oppressors.
That is the entire extent of the film. I am sure there was interest at the time in audiences to see the actual uprising occur, but aside from spectacle, there is little else on offer here. Roddy McDowall now knows playing an ape like the back of his paw, and moves from playing Cornelius to his own son quite effectively. Don Murray however, is quite the caricature of a villain as Governor Breck. Part of me was just waiting for a “Muahaha” laugh. Natalie Trundy is effective as ape Lisa, but that is also hardly surprising given she is a veteran of previous Ape films, both as ape and human. But for a film that sells itself more on action than ideas, the action by today’s standard is sub-par.
In the ned, all I can really say about the film is that it is boring, despite the title promising much more. Bride of Film Nerd and I watched this back to back with the final instalment of Apes, which I shall review soon, and really, at this stage they were starting to flog a dead horse… before the simians have even learnt the ability to ride them!
2 stars out of 5