The Planet of the Apes is back with another film. Surely it can’t be any worse than the first one…right? I can safely say that the series is definitely showing some improvement with this installment. It falls into a few holes, but they would be incredibly hard to avoid. The plot is intriguing, even if it’s a little unnecessary. It’s time for the humans to strike back.
The plot involves three apes who managed to escape the planet before it…met an abrupt end. Sure, that could be a spoiler, but I expect my readers to have seen the last film in the series before reading my review of this one. It just wouldn’t make any sense otherwise right? Back to the plot, the three apes are greeted by the military and they act like normal apes to protect themselves. Unfortunately, the act can’t hold for long when Zira has one of her moments so the two scientists who learn of this (Lewis and Stephanie) decide to show the world. Will the Apes be regarded as friend or foe? They’re about to find out one way or another! (In case I need to clear this up. The Apes have arrived into the past before the Earth blew up and Apes began to rule.
Well, the film already showed signs of improvement from the first one since the setting was better. I’ll take a regular city over a barren wasteland any day. Civilization was finally back and the unfortunate subplots of crazy humans and slavery could be over and done with. Those reasons almost guaranteed that this film would be higher than the last one on principal.
Zira is back and she’s one of the main characters in this film. Unfortunately, I can’t say that she was a very good character. Most of the trouble and problems that arise are really her fault. She talks when the other Apes warned her not too so then the humans find out about it. It’s not like they were even trying to humiliate her or anything. The humans were just testing their intelligence. Then, Zira is tricked into revealing all of the secrets from the future. Her biggest mistake was when she decided to leave her suitcase outside of the hiding place so that the humans could find and destroy them. She’s supposed to be the smart one of the group, but she definitely didn’t look the part in this film.
Milo is the baby who appears in this film. He’s the next generation of Ape you could say and the entire government is after him. He’s still a baby so it’s not like he can do a whole lot. So, I can’t say that he’s an unlikable character, but his final scene isn’t that great. Still, we can’t really judge his character until the next film.
Cornelius is back along with Zira and he’s more of a fighter in this film. He’s definitely more confident and bold as he speaks up against Zira more. He talks to the humans and shows them that he is serious about his work. He definitely overreacted when the humans would use the term monkey though and the scene where he took out the guy holding a tray was intriguing. I don’t see how the guy died from such an attack, but I guess Cornelius is just that tough. He does mess up in the ending though as he goes too far away when looking around the hideout. Not a wise move.
Lewis is the main human of the film or at least as far as the protagonists go. He does his best to help out the Apes, but there’s not much for him to do. He can let the army take him down or he can help the apes in secret. It’s a tough call of course but he ultimately makes the right call. Well…that is pretty arguable since he could have stuck up for them more. He was doomed to lose against politics, but he could have kept on trying until the bitter end. He basically just accepts the end and moves on as the film closes.
Stephanie is certainly not the bravest character out there. She faints when the Apes first begin to speak. Sure, it may have been surprising, but fainting isn’t really the best reaction. She helps out against the cops after that, but that’s about it. She’s a good driver, but she would need more courage for me to be a fan of her.
Dr. Milo doesn’t appear for very long and there’s a good reason for that. He lacks the power needed to keep up with the others. An Ape gets him in a headlock and he can’t break free…so he doesn’t really make it. His role must have been painful for his fans because it’s a very sad way to go out. You’d expect much more of a fight from such a big character. The scene just came so suddenly. At least he gets some hype from the other characters after he is taken out, but it’s not really the same as actually appearing right?
The President was definitely my favorite character. He got to call the shots while drinking his coffee and he never let anything slide. This was a man who was comfortable with wielding large amounts of power and nobody could corrupt him. Unfortunately, underlings tend to get away with a lot when the leader is so far away. The President is always relaxing so he doesn’t really know what’s going on. He still gives it his all though.
Otto is the main villain of the film and he really makes sure that the apes know this. He’s worried that the apes are going to enslave the humans so they must be stopped. Well, I’ll talk more about this in a minute, but he’s definitely an exaggerated character. He should have been locked up right away, but nobody suspected just how dangerous he was until it was too late. He gets away with a whole lot of shooting before he’s finally hit. Then the army finishes the job for him. I can definitely say that Otto doesn’t make for a good villain.
The soundtrack for the film definitely isn’t very good. The tunes just don’t make a lot of sense and they can get repetitive very quickly. The music definitely isn’t as action packed as something like Final Wars, but I suppose that it’ll have to do. It didn’t exactly help the film, but it’s not like the themes could hurt it all that much.
The main offense that I have with this film is that it’s just boring. There aren’t really any moments where you’ll stand up and cheer or even crack a smile. You’re just watching the film in awkward silence as you glance at your watch from time to time. The film isn’t even that long, but it takes a while for anything to happen. In that sense, it definitely rivals the Lord of The Rings/Hobbit.
The climax is also contains less action than usual. It’s really a one on one gunfight, but it’s not official. By that, I mean that one guy shoots someone and then someone else shoots him from behind. I’ve seen more action in My Little Pony and Scooby Doo. The film definitely ends on a low note. The ending was definitely not very enjoyable. Let’s just say that you can probably guess what happens based on the ending of the last film. It’s pretty similar.
The final, final scene is still pretty sad as well. We have someone yelling out a name…over and over and over again. It keeps on going once the screen has gone dark as well. It’s an example of a scene that could have been interesting, but ended up getting dragged on for far too long. Although, the final 20 minutes or so was all pretty underwhelming.
I also think that one of the things that hurts the film is how unbelievable some of the parts are. There’s no way Apes would ever enslave humanity and this guy shouldn’t really believe it. It’s no better than a fortune teller telling them that something will happen in the future. Unfortunately, the Judge and Juries do agree with him to an extent and announce that the baby must be destroyed. That’s rather crude for the United States. So much for Freedom and Independence. Also, I like to think that the general populace would have been able to help them or to at least find out the truth about what the government did. It shouldn’t be too hard to piece the puzzles together.
One thing that I can’t forget to mention is how bad the acting is. Especially for the Apes as their facial expressions always seem fake. They’ll randomly glare at people or engage in eye contact for a very long time. It’s so bad that it can be funny at times. Special effects were limited at the time and I can understand that, but it still doesn’t look very good. This is something that the series likely won’t get much better at until the newer films, but I can hope.
Overall, This film was definitely a step up from the last one. It’s a world of difference in quality and this one definitely wasn’t unbearable to watch. It’s really just boring, which is still a pretty big crime for a film, but it could be worse. What the film really needed was a better ending and better characters. Zira proved that the apes couldn’t be trusted thanks to her sadistic experiments and the humans weren’t any better as they became paranoid very quickly. I can’t say that I’m a fan of the Apes franchise even after this film, but it was certainly an improvement. Hopefully the sequel can fix these issues and gives us a better soundtrack as well. This review wasn’t very long because the film itself was pretty uneventful. It didn’t make too many errors, but it didn’t really try. The first half was just about the Apes having fun and then the ending is where things go south for them. The court scenes were intriguing, although they could have been handled much better. I would recommend watching Godzilla vs King Kong instead of this film though since King Kong makes for a hardcore fighter and the action scenes can be pretty intense.