Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Article 3324 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-4-2010
Posting Date: 9-20-2010
Directed by J. Lee Thompson
Featuring Roddy McDowall, Don Murray, Ricardo Montalban
Country: USA
What it is: Fourth in the PLANET OF THE APES movie series

After having been raised secretly by a circus owner, the son of Cornelius and Zira is appalled to discover that during his life at the circus, apes have been enslaved by humans and forced to perform menial tasks. However, he becomes a fugitive when he is heard to speak in reaction to abuse given to a fellow ape, and when his owner dies trying to protect him, he vows to lead his ape brothers in revolution against their tyrannic masters.

When PLANET OF THE APES spawned a whole series of movies, this one seemed inevitable; eventually, a movie would have to made about the ape revolution, and here it is. It’s really a tribute to Roddy McDowall’s acting abilities, and once again he delivers despite having to emote through elaborate make-up. I’m less impressed with the story as a whole; it’s a little too one-dimensional and repetitive, and the ending features way too many speeches. It’s also a little short of humor, though it does have a few stray moments, especially when Caesar starts his revolution by having the apes start performing certain small but amusing acts of rebellion. In the end, the movie ends up being a little too ordinary. Granted, from the sound of it, the movie was compromised for its initial release; its original ending was considered too dark, and the final speech was amended to be less so. This is a shame; they could have come up with a better fifth movie if the ending of this one hadn’t been compromised.

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