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…