4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Battle for the Planet of the Apes Review

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It’s the final installment in the Planet of the Apes series. It should really be City of the Apes instead of Planet, but that’s just how it goes. If you’ve seen my reviews for the other titles, then you’ll know that I’ve been less than pleased with the series so far. The first film was the only one that I gave a decent score. (Depending on your definition of decent) Luckily, the series ends on a relatively high note as this one definitely defeats the second, third, and fourth films. I dare say that it can even defeat the first film. Making it an uphill battle for future Ape films to defeat this one. Why was I so impressed with this film? (Compared to the others anyway) Well, this film may have been a little on the boring side for a while, but it also corrected most of the problems that I had with the series.

The plot begins in the far future. An ole Ape is telling his audience about an ape named Caesar and how he had a good adventure. We go back to the past and Caesar now rules over all. The humans had another one of their wars and everyone in sight died. The few humans who lived through it were brought to the Apes to work as slaves. Caesar likes how things have turned out and he even has a kid named Cornelius. Unfortunately, the gorillas are starting to rebel and their newfound leader is Aldo. He believes that humans should be destroyed instead of enslaved and he seems to be pretty dangerous. Caesar doesn’t really consider him to be a threat, which is either brave…or overconfident. It’s a little ambiguous. MacDonald advises Caesar to check out the recordings of his parents and they wander into an abandoned city. Turns out that some mutants (Humans who were affected by the radiation) live there and now it’s time for the war to begin anew. The mutants will launch a final counter offensive to destroy the apes once and for all. Which side will prevail!?

Caesar is back to being our lead in this film although he’s pretty distant at times. He’s technically the main character, but you almost wouldn’t know it from the way he acts. He’s grown old and some of the members are beginning to realize this. The humans essentially work as his slaves right now although he likes to think of it as a friendship in the making. Once the two sides understand each other…there will be harmony. It’s a pretty intriguing strategy, but it’s one that would likely never work. Caesar just isn’t likable by the end because he’s a little too oblivious to everything that’s happening. He never even suspects who attacked his kid and he’s pretty isolated in his little hut. He doesn’t even hear the loud sounds of war when the attack first begins and he refuses to go out because he’s with Cornelius. He’s definitely not the general that you would expect. He still does have a solid glare that he shares with the others once in a while, but it’s just not enough.

MacDonald is in this film, but it’s not the same MacDonald from the last film. This one is the latter’s brother, but he retains the same personality. He wants Caesar to give the humans more freedom, but he plays along with the system for the moment. He has big plans and they all come to the surface at the end. It’s a risky gamble and it only barely pays off. He was all right I suppose, but there’s not much to say about him. He was just there.

General Aldo is one of the main villains in this film. He wants all of the humans to be destroyed and he has several followers. Their goals are ambitious and not even Caesar can stop them. Aldo is openly rebellious and the others seem to fear him. His misplaced pride in his methods keeps him from being a likable character. Whether human or ape, both species have some bad apples. His fight against Caesar was very brief and it definitely didn’t make him look like a powerful warrior. I guess he was all talk after all.

Governor Kolp is The main villain of the film. He is the leader of the small pocket of human resistance and he definitely won’t allow the apes to keep their city. He wants his men to destroy everything so that the Apes can be their slaves once more. This guy is obviously not a sympathetic villain and he’s also pretty weak. He’s the type of guy who ends up going on a long monologue and panics at everything. He’s completely unreasonable and war is the only thing on his mind. Maybe he would be a little more bearable if he would actually fight….but he can’t. He’s a pretty forgettable villain in the grand scheme of things.

So, as I mentioned earlier, this film was a definite improvement over the last one. General Aldo and Governor Kolp are mean villains, but we don’t have to be reminded of this constantly through shocks and other such scenes as in the last film. These guys just come out swinging and they’re not all that subtle about it. The climatic fight between Caesar and Aldo is pretty serious business and while it’s short, it easily beats the last few climaxes. This was a fight that you could get behind and the stakes were real. It was very cheesy and unintentionally funny, which made it more enjoyable than the overly long revolt climax that we got last time.

Of course, that still couldn’t stop the film from being pretty boring. You never really care about what’s going to happen. After all, it’s a story about how awesome Caesar is so there are only so many ways that the film could go from there. Starting out the film as a story is never a good idea. Luckily, the film is decently short so it doesn’t have a whole lot of time to drag on. It goes through the motions and as the viewers, we just play along.

Another negative for the film would be the previously segment. It’s pretty long and utterly unnecessary. If you forgot the plot for one of the most basic franchises out there, then it’s time to go and order some Doritos loaded. We get to see most of the scenes that we’ve tried to hard to forget. From the apes leaving their suitcase where anyone could find it to the final fight scene of the last film. This flashback took up quite a few minutes and we just didn’t need it.

The setting for the film plays out like the Walking Dead. It’s a sandy area without any real kind of life. The civilization is pretty primitive and most of the inhabitants are still finding their place in the world. Enslaving the humans essentially restarted the cycle, which felt a little bit like backtracking as well.

Once again, I’ve also got to criticize the big plan of the Apes. Having everyone lie down in the middle of the road to wait for the enemies to come is a pretty terrible strategy. They could have been stepped on or shot. The odds of such a plan succeeding are pretty low. This doesn’t help to show how much smarter Apes are than humans either. They got off lucky that time, but what about the next time the humans strike? They better have their weapons ready.

Overall, This Apes film was more enjoyable than the others. It essentially did away with most of my complaints. It didn’t develop into a very solid film either, but being boring was really its only big problem. It’s like watching a LOTR film, but at least it only lasts for a little over an hour and a half. Nothing really gets accomplished in the film. The only big event in the film is the human’s attack upon them. The rest is just the Apes talking and everyone being upset about their current predicament. Yes, I definitely wouldn’t recommend this film and you’re better off watching some old Naruto re runs. There is a happy ending though so maybe the cycle can finally stop…maybe. We’ll see if the Burton remake or the latest remake will be able to get a more positive score. It’s hard to picture…but it could happen. After all, this film gave us a ray of hope.

Overall 4/10

1 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Conquest of The Planet of The Apes Review

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It’s time for the Apes to return and you can tell that there will be a lot of action in this one based off of the title. That is usually a good thing, but not necessarily for this series. After the last film where the series managed to briefly rise up, this one definitely shot it right back down. Why did this film not succeed when it had so much potential? That’s what we’re about to find out!

The world has changed since the last film and around 10+ years have passed. Dogs and Cats were eliminated from the Earth by a plague and humans decided to take in Apes as pets. (Obviously, they ignored the warnings that this is how the Ape dominion would start) Unfortunately, America then decides to use them as slaves and Milo finds out about this. He switches his name to Caesar and decides to overthrow the humans, but can such a bold conquest really work? That’s the plot for this film. I’ll get into all of the negatives in a moment, but let’s look at the character roster first since it’s so small.

Caesar is the main character of the film and his main goal is to save the Apes. It’s a noble goal, but accomplishing it will be difficult. He starts off by helping the Apes make a mockery of the humans by messing up in their tasks, but it’s not enough. He needs to completely stop their tyrannical rule. Unfortunately, he basically cracks by the end as he decides to destroy all of the humans before enslaving them. It doesn’t look like things will be changing anytime soon and one race will end up enslaved no matter who wins. I also can’t say that I liked Caesar’s plans, but more on that in a minute. Nontheless, Caesar is still better than most of the other apes.

MacDonald is one of the only guys who’s on the heroes side of things. He doesn’t believe in slavery, but there’s not much that he can do about it while in the system. He tries to help out whenever possible, which is good. Unfortunately, it can also be a little sad seeing him since you know that he has no chance of stopping this through peace. War is the only thing that General Breck and his men will understand at this point.

Governor Breck is the main villain of the film. He really believes that the Apes pose a threat to the human race and he really wants to see them enslaved. He’s basically against all Apes and he takes great satisfaction in their imprisonment. He’s a rather petty villain who is definitely not very enjoyable. He needs some more charisma and character development in order to be a good villain. His final speech is also pretty nonsensical as he turns into a philosopher and explains that people only dislike the Apes because they see their dark side in them. I don’t think anyone will really buy that. If only the President was still around to save the day.

Armando is the circus owner from the last film and he’s a good guy. He probably shouldn’t have gone back to meet with the police, but he was basically doomed either way. It’s really Caesar’s fault that things got dicey for Armando, but something had to happen I suppose. Armando was definitely one of the more likable characters in the film and at least he put up a fight against the police. He does have his human rights to think of after all and nobody was going to stop him! The film could have been better if he had lasted a little longer.

The soundtrack definitely isn’t that good. The opening scene is mostly lolz worthy as we get a fairly comedic tune as we see Apes performing all kinds of tasks. A tragic piece of music would have been more appropriate. What’s worse is that the scene takes a very long time to end. It keeps on going and going until you wonder how long this song can actually be. The film finally starts, but it wasn’t a big improvement. Time to see why the film wasn’t that good for me…or rather, why it was pretty bad.

The slavery aspect would definitely be the first part. There’s no way that America would fall so low. Of course, that’s optimistic, but it’s hard to picture America allowing slavery in any form. We just finished getting rid of it so bringing it back for the Apes would not make sense. That was part of the main plot and it was pretty bad. That was definitely a bad sign for the film since the slavery wasn’t going to disappear as the film went on. Maybe a few people would believe that Apes would destroy us all, but certainly not the majority. Only conspirators could possible believe this and it is still taken so seriously.

Another part would be how cruel the people are to the Apes. It doesn’t make economic sense to train them all to do these tasks when they just end up doing it sloppily and are forced to go back for more training. What’s the point of using these Apes for the task? The film explains that they are really useful in some areas, but it never shows us any of them. All we see is the fact that the Apes aren’t really good at any of the tasks because the humans won’t bother tho show them anything. If anything, it takes longer to do everything when you have to worry about apes making a mistake or doing something incorrectly.

Building off of this, the scenes also drag on for too long. We get that the humans are really mean to the Apes so we don’t need to keep on seeing it. At one point, the humans lead Caesar through a lab where we see how the Apes are conditioned. They get practice on how to get beaten up without fighting back, how to get burned to stop being frightened of the fire, and how to get zapped for no real reason except to make them fear humans. These scenes are pretty terrible and they guaranteed that the film was going to get a low rating. The sheer amount of animal violence in the film is off the charts. The Apes don’t typically count as the same kind of animal violence as an average dog or a cat would, but things change in this film. Most of the apes are normal apes now so they are back to totally being animals so all of the scenes are pretty relentless. If you’ve been reading my reviews long enough then you’ll know that animal violence is an instant no no. Viewers shouldn’t have to put up with that and it’s bad enough that Lassie is a fan favorite..

Meanwhile, the acting hasn’t gotten any better. The humans are all right of course, but the Apes still seem very fake. They’ll glare at each other and move really slowly at times for the drama. You almost feel like chuckling when Caesar glares at the Apes from the shadows. The suits definitely need a lot of work, but that kind of work takes time so I wouldn’t expect it to get much better in the sequel. We can hope of course….we can hope.

I also need to criticize Caesar’s military tactics. He’s never fought a war of course, but I expect better out of him. He uses some of the Apes as pawns as he gets many of them to mess up in their duties so they are sent to his base. After they launch the assault, Caesar definitely didn’t count on the villains having guns. The whole army walks right towards them and the complete slaughter of his troops is prevented by the humans hesitating before firing. Most of them still go down quickly and the others only manage to stay upright through plot convenience. The fire plan definitely didn’t do the Apes any wonders. Maybe it’s time for Caesar to step down as leader eh?

By the end, he basically admits that the Apes are doomed for a while and that they’ll have to wait until World War Three to strike again. I guess that means that the Apes involved in this rebellion are probably all doomed. Well, maybe they’ll be able to stay in hiding or something until the tensions die down, but it’ll be tough.

It almost goes without saying that the fight scenes were poorly done as well. We get a lot of Apes tackling humans and vice versa as they wrestle around for a while. The camera makes sure to keep on shifting from side to side and all around so that we get to see many fight scenes instead of focusing on any of them. It becomes rather chaotic and since we can’t root for either side, it’s rather boring. I still don’t buy the fact that any of the Apes lived when the humans had so many guns at the ready. Talk about getting one shotted….

Overall, This is definitely another bad installment in the Apes franchise. It may not have been quite as bad as the second film, but this is certainly open to debate. There was nothing good about this film once again and the characters were unlikable. I liked the circus owner and MacDonald was okay, but they weren’t strong enough to hold up a whole film. The massive amounts of animal violence mixed with the sheer dullness of the film ensured that this would not be an enjoyable experience. I definitely do not recommend checking this film out and you would be better watching a retro episode of the Andy Griffith show. I can only hope that the final installment in this series is better than this one. How can it be worse or even on the same level right? Well, that’s what I thought after the second film…

Overall 1/10