I’ve never liked the Planet of the Apes franchise. It wasn’t terrible, but the films just weren’t for me. I mean, a series where the main villains are Apes? This will inevitably lead to humans shooting apes and apes shooting people so the films were doomed from the start. Even the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes looks pretty bad if you ask me. However, even I was not expecting this film to be quite as bad as it was. It actually ranks up there with Sucker Punch…and that’s definitely not a good thing!
The plot takes place shortly after the first film. Taylor and Nova are still aimlessly wandering about. One day, Taylor sees a big fire so he jumps into a mountain, but the mountain wasn’t actually there and he must have met a sad end. Nova moves on with her life and treks across the planet until she finds a guy by the name of Brent. Brent crash landed on this planet along with another guy, but the futureshock was too much for him. (That’s what Judge Dredd calls it anyway) He quickly dies so Brent decides to go with Nova to find out what’s going on. Unfortunately, the Apes still want to conquer the world so Brent runs away, but he’s quickly captures. His only chance is to get off of this planet or to find some more humans who have a mind. The sad thing is…Brent’s doomed either way!!
It’s hard to know where to begin describing this “film.” We may as well go in a semi chronological order. The first scene that you’ll have to wince at is when Brent’s partner wakes up. We get several minutes of Brent telling him to stay alive as he tries to help the poor guy. The guy won’t hear any of it and he loudly exclaims that everyone he knew is dead. That’s pretty obvious since they’ve time traveled 2000 years into the future and Brent doesn’t seem to care. The guy just dies and you have to wonder why he was so weak willed. He was a pretty sad character.
We aren’t given a break either as the next scene involves Nova coming to help. This scene was pretty terrible since it feels like 20 minutes of Brent trying to talk to her. The problem is that Nova doesn’t believe in showing emotion and since she can’t talk and only has limited hearing…it makes discussion difficult. The two of them just stare at each other in awe as they can’t communicate and Brent finally jumps on the horse. The horse looked exhausted after a few steps and I felt bad for him.
Things don’t really get any better as the Ape scenes were pretty boring. Skipping along, the next sad moment was when the Horses started to get shot. This occurs throughout the movie and it was pretty awful. Classic animal violence is something that is common in the Ape films and that’s just too bad. The Apes themselves look so fake that I don’t really count them for the most part, but the horses are definitely enough!
After that, SPOILER ALERT……………………………………………They find a human colony and some more wince worthy scenes follow. The humans have advanced ESP and they attempt to force Brent to drown Nova. After a terrible scene, Brent regains control and heads into the enemy base. They beat him up using their mind abilities while telling him that they are peaceful. In particular, a guy by the name of Ongaro seems to despise humans as he continues to blast Brent. They use their mind abilities to try and make Brent destroy Taylor as well and the two of them have a boring fight. The film wasn’t even two hours and it felt like a millenia.
Another factor of the film that didn’t help was the random violence that jumped out towards the end. It was pretty over the top towards the end as someone gets violently impaled and another one gets shot to death in a graphic fashion. We see live apes burning to death in one scene and even though it is an illusion, it is a realistic one. The statue also begins to bleed a lot and we can’t forget Brent and Taylor’s fight as they keep throwing each other into the spikes. (Well, Brent was getting pummeled the whole time so he didn’t really get a chance) I dare say that this film is much more violent than the two newest Ape films in theaters partially due to the effects. This amount of blood usually doesn’t pore out so quickly and it’s due to the difference in special effects.
Brent is the new main character of the film and I can’t say that he’s very likable. Maybe for the first few minutes, but he died once Nova came along. He is very weak willed as shown when the telepathy people came along. Brent isn’t much of a fighter as he got pummeled a lot and he just seems to be very rude whenever he talks to anyone.
Nova isn’t any better than the first film. It would be good if she could at least react when someone was talking to her or a sound was made, but she’s just lifeless the whole time. Her scenes just aren’t fun to watch and while she does get a big “hero” moment, it’s not very cool and it’s a little too expected.
Taylor is from the first film, but he doesn’t get a huge role and he basically goes out while begging for help. He made an interesting call as he fell down and that was cool, but I can’t really forget how he was weak against mind control as well. Jumping into the mountain was also pretty risky and he had a gun with him so he should have had the edge against any opponent.
Ongaro is the antagonistic human who likes to mess with the primitive humans. He blasts them with his mind for fun and he likes to watch them destroy each other. He claims to be a peaceful person, but you can tell that it’s all fake. He’s just lying to them because he finds it to be fun.
Dr. Zaius isn’t really likable either. He refuses to help the main characters because they cause a lot of destruction as he helps the Apes murder everyone in sight. He doesn’t like to oppose authority and he believes that everything should stay the same. He doesn’t have any ambition in him and he’s pretty weak willed.
Mendez is basically a joke the entire time. He has a nuclear weapon at his disposal and he’s ready to use it against the Apes. The problem is that he waits until they enter his room so they shoot him down before he has time to use it. That’s extremely sloppy and he basically died for no good reason. He didn’t really have a point in the story since he was just going to stand there and die.
Ursus is the leader of the Ape military and he doesn’t really have a point in this film as well. He talks tough and he wants to help end a famine before it begins so he goes into the forbidden zone. There was not any food to be found so you could say that it was a wasted effort anyway. He may be the leader, but he is very interchangeable. He only got a handful of lines and he bit the big one in a very quick fight.
Zira is mostly there to rebel against the government, but she never does anything about it. She’s really all talk and gets written out of the film very quickly. It’s good to talk to the government and try to change them, but she has absolutely no political power so her efforts were doomed from the start. Her husband tries to talk her out of her plans as well, but Zira does get a chance to be leader for a few hours so we’ll see what she does about it…or not.
The soundtrack is nonexistent in this film. It’s too bad since that could have ever so slightly helped the film, but we can’t even have that I suppose. The special effects are pretty bad as well, but this film is ancient so one can overlook that. The photoshopped fire…..it burrrrrns!
Another thing that hurts the film is the fact that the characters aren’t likable. It’s a classic tale of how everyone has been corrupted. The Apes worship their idols and the humans have forgotten God and they now worship a rocket. The humans are completely evil and likewise with the Apes so it’s a lose/lose situation. It’s why the ending was one of the only ways that could have helped the film. It was a good ending (Last 2 seconds anyway) but it couldn’t really help in the end. (Too bad this film got a sequel eh?) I can’t say that I expected the humans to look That bad. Their scenes are also pretty unnecessarily gross as their faces are rotted and they all look like a pile of veins. It’s not pretty and you almost have to exit the room when they appear on screen.
I’m also not crazy about the setting. It’s basically a big desert and the landscape is primitive. Because of this, the heroes don’t wear much and they’re barefoot. Personally, that kind of thing has always bothered me and the acting is horrendous for everyone as well. Every character is constantly grinning, but their face looks like they’re in pain. I’m guessing that the actors were told to grin and squint as if the sun was shining very brightly upon them. It definitely didn’t help from a viewer’s perspective as it just made the scenes that much harder to watch.
Overall, This is easily one of the worst films that I have ever seen. There is not a single redeemable quality about the film and it was painful from start to finish. None of the characters were likable, The Setting was bad, The action was boring, and the violence was really there for no reason. I highly recommend avoiding this film and don’t let the G rating fool you. This is easily PG-13 stuff by the end and the 90 or so minutes of the film actually ends up feeling like a Lord of The Rings movie. This is just one of those films that you should just take a pass on. If you want a good future story, then check out Yugioh 3D Bonds Beyond Time. That film has heart and passion…two qualities that this film could have used. At the very least, I’m sure that the rest of the Apes films cannot be as bad as this one.