Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
The re-imagining’s source.

This film was selected from ‘The 250’

I forgot to mention the reasoning behind my watching of this series. Part of it is because it’s a pretty iconic film franchise, but another was because I actually loved the reboot/reimagining, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. At that time, I just figured it had absolutely nothing to do with the classic series, making sure to take heavy liberties. Yes, the re-imagining had liberties taken, but a lot of it was clearly borrowed from the fourth film in the classic franchise, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and that makes me really happy. I haven’t seen all of the movies quite yet, but my favorite films thus far of the classic series is the first and fourth film, and I’ll try my best to explain why.

Okay, so I always have to explain what happened in the last film because these movies actually follow each other in canon pretty closely…which is pretty awesome, especially for this many movies way back when. Last time around, before the earth was destroyed 2,000 years in the future, a couple of apes escaped on the astronaut’s spaceship, travelling back in time, landing in a world with a bunch of both fascinated and scared individuals because, well, talking apes. They get pregnant, and suddenly the whole world was out to get them because their baby would increase the probability of a monkey revolution. So humans killed the family thinking they also killed their baby, but in reality, the baby, Casesar was being taken care of in secret by a circus owner.

You should also know that in the last film, even though I wasn’t a big fan of the movie in general, there was a moment where the history of how they came to be was explained in detail – basically a really detailed foreshadowing that we get to look forward to…or the plot to Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Anyway, it was cool to see that taken into consideration as this film plays out. To give you a brief synopsis – humans started taking in monkeys as pets when cats and dogs were killed off years ago (all in 1991, wow). Anyways, the monkeys start getting smarter naturally, doing chores around the house, and unbeknownst to everyone, Caesar has the ability to think and speak, and is planning a rebellion to retaliate against the brutal animal cruelty he saw around him.

On paper, this film is actually pretty flawless, but it is still a pretty aged flick. The monkeys still don’t look real, their mouths don’t look like they have any muscles in them when they speak, it’s just not an attractive movie, but it is well-made other than that. If you want character development, this isn’t the movie for you, for that, go to the other movies. For an introduction to the world, you need to start at the beginning, that’s where all the twists and introductions come from. This, however, shows you where everything leads to, the rise of the apes.

When I think of classic Planet of the Apes, I still think dystopian setting, and again that’s not here, but the world itself seemed a lot more threatening, which was something they needed. In fact, the overall tones of the film as a whole was so much darker, and it needed that badly. It needed to be brutal in order to show the seriousness of the moral questions the films already possessed like racism, animal cruelty, and slavery. Have I also mentioned that Caesar is the coolest ape in the series? I thought that before, just because of the reimagining, but even in this – he is the most memorable and has the best acting out of ALL movies. You can tell he’s angry, which is more than anything I could say for the series as a whole. That’s big. And the progress the franchise has taken thus far is pretty legendary.

Where this film ends is somewhere near where Rise of the Planet of the Apes ends, so I’m actually interested in seeing where the next film leads us next.

The Good:

I may like this film more than most because of the connections to the re-imagining, but I really think this is an incredibly important film in the franchise. It’s the actual rise of the apes. Not only that, but this had some actual real emotion…by the monkey, no less. Before it was really static, ‘60s cheese, you know what I’m talking about. Also, the world around Caesar was threatening, they had some decent visuals in general, and it was finally darker and violent. This felt more like what I initially expected Planet of the Apes to be like. So there’s that.

The Bad:

None of these movies in the classic series translate well for a modern audience. There are some good source material to look up the history and legends of the original franchise, which is interesting at times, but it’s not an incredible franchise. The concept is brilliant, the motives are great, but people still will laugh at what the monkeys look like…sorry but it’s true.

Memorable Quote:

Lisa: N-No…

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