Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Action, Sci-Fi
Roddy McDowall, Claude Akins, Natalie Trundy, Severn Darden
Ten years after conquering the Earth, ape leader Caesar wants the ruling apes and enslaved humans to live in peace. But warring factions of apes led by a militant gorilla general as well as various human groups threaten the stability.
  • 20th Century Fox Company:
  • G Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 15 Jun 1973 Released:
  • 05 May 2009 DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • Pierre Boulle, Paul Dehn Writer:
  • J. Lee Thompson Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

Not that bad.5/10

This movie isn't as bad as many people think it is.. As far as sequels go, I
can think of worse ones. It also ends on a very positive note. It is pretty entertaining, especially if you like the previous "Apes" movies.
Not a bad movie...5/10

Definitely the weakest in the series...but alas...my favorite. The final human battle to take over what's left of the Earth is good. One major flaw in the actual battle is when the battle starts we see Aldo and his cavalry charge----then we don't see them again until the battle is over...throwing grenades in the bus. I had this film on Super 8 back in the seventies (the color 9 minute version) and it was a favorite of the neighborhood.
Apocalypse Apes Redux6/10
Rarely does the restoration of deleted scenes added back into a film work to its benefit. The Extended Edition of Battle for the Planet of the Apes is one of those rare exceptions. The fifth and final chapter in the Apes theatrical series is generally regarded as its weakest link. It had the lowest budget of all of the films in the series and it painfully shows and looks more like it's a made-for-TV movie. In fact, it feels almost like a pilot for the Planet of the Apes Television Series.

The film begins in the year 2670 and is bookended with John Houston as the revered ape Lawgiver reading from the sacred scrolls like a bedtime storyteller. From here the story is told in flashback and the viewer is left scratching their heads by the befuddling logic. Events not clearly explained are left to the viewer to make assumptions or draw conclusions about the contradictory order of events. It must be assumed that a nuclear war had devastated the Earth immediately after the ape uprising in Conquest and somehow only a decade afterward the ape society had unbelievably evolved their verbal powers of speech and intelligence. These facts are inconsistent with Cornelius' explanation of the apes' evolution in Escape in which he explains that the plague that destroyed all cats and dogs occurred some 200 years later than it did in Conquest and that Aldo was the first ape to utter human speech when he said the word "No" which was spoken by Lisa in Conquest, and that Aldo led the revolt against the humans which was led by Caesar. We can only conclude that the incongruent events in Conquest and Battle are the events of an alternate timeline forged by the creation of the temporal paradox from Cornelius and Zira's arrival in Escape. The apes also adorn costumes similar to the fashions of the ape society from the first film which had evolved over several thousand years but again this is only a decade after their revolt against the humans (one explanation could be that since this story is told as a flashback to ape and human children we are seeing it as depicted by their imaginations as a point of reference). MacDonald in this film is not the same MacDonald who was the Governor's Adjutant in Conquest but rather his brother which is confusing since Caesar appeared to have found a human sympathizer and ally in the MacDonald from Conquest and the only reasonable explanation for the deliberate change of character is that MacDonald is played by a different actor this time, but if you aren't paying close attention, you are likely to miss that inference. Ape City is located in a very lush and hospitable forest area within miles of the inhospitable desert wasteland of the annihilated Forbidden City. Automobiles such as jeeps and school buses still work somehow and were not rendered inoperable by the EMP of the atomic detonation. Radioactive half-life apparently only affects the surviving humans living within the irradiated remains of the Forbidden City and the apes can somehow sustain bombardments of high levels of radioactive fallout for a few hours while they search its archives for a videotape of Cornelius and Zira which also amazingly happened to not be vaporized or magnetically degaussed by the atomic blast. The mutated humans all wear skull caps for the purpose of (take your pick): A.) protecting their craniums from high radiation levels B.) to hide the fact that their hair has completely fallen out due to radioactive fallout C.) to enhance telepathic reception of their now-suddenly mutated telekinetic minds or D.) All of the above.

The newly restored scenes with the human mutants and the Alpha-Omega bomb at least help to make some sense of the rather weak narrative and gaps of logic and provide some continuity to the rest of the series. These scenes are significant because it shows the mutants beginning to hone their developing telepathic powers and it establishes the fundamental doctrine of their quasi-religious sect that will worship the Alpha-Omega bomb in future generations. It almost feels more like a direct prequel to Beneath now. Why this subplot was excised is almost as baffling as the film's logic but one reason perhaps is the fact that the film ends with a more optimistic outlook suggesting that the timeline of events were changed when Caesar united the apes and the humans and that the crisis of Beneath may have been averted but it is left open for the audience to decide from the ambiguous tear of the weeping statue of Caesar suggesting that perhaps the fateful events of the future cannot be avoided after all.

Battle is definitely the worst of the five apes films but compared to most low-budget sci-fi shlock I've seen, it's really not as bad as it's made out to be, but judged against the superior standard set precedent by the first film it is a quite a disappointment. In addition to the restored scenes, there are few highlights that make the film worth at least a viewing if you have enjoyed watching the other films in this series at all. Of particular interest are the sets of the melted down post-apocalyptic Forbidden City that are just visually interesting to look at, even if the obvious matte paintings were composited into the background. It gives the film a future-coda feel in a way that evokes images of James Cameron's The Terminator but pre-dates it over a decade. If nothing else, Battle was at least influential in inspiring other science fiction films in the genre and was the template for subsequent franchises and was more than influential to George Lucas and his Star Wars mega-merchandising empire that would follow only a few years later and the Planet of the Apes series would forever be buried under its apocalypse and reside in the realm of Saturday afternoon and late-night television broadcasts.
History in the making5/10

SPOILERS ON WHOLE SERIES

I'll not say I like this movie - it IS pants, but having seen it recently after all the other 4 in succession I realised something I had never understood before. Some of you might already know this and hence think I'm dumb .. OK, others might disagree with me .. also OK but this is intended for those of you who had the same viewpoint on the series as I previously did.

I had thought that the films III, IV and V had simply explained events prior to the first movie but after seeing Battle again, I saw that the past had been changed due to the apes going back in time after the destruction of the earth. Here are my reasons, and the evidence grows stronger as episode 3 progresses to episode 5 :

Episode 3 : In the timeline before episode 1, no talking apes had arrived in the 20th century therefore the past has already begun to change. Cornelius claims an ape named Aldo had been the one who first spoke the word 'No' to his masters. He also revealed the plague of cats and dogs was in another century than the 20th (I forget which).

Episode 4 : The plague of cats and dogs has already taken place - the bacteria obviously having been brought back from the future by the 3 apes in the spacecraft. Cornelius' son is the ape to give rise to revolution - not Aldo as he had claimed in part 3.

Episode 5 : The entire film can basically be forgotten except for the ending. The battle scene is particularly useless, having been more like an end-of-episode fight from the A-Team rather than a battle for the destiny of a planet. However, we end with the statue of the lawgiver as Caesar (a chimpanzee), and not one of an orangutan as shown in the first two movies. We also see ape and human children sitting side by side as equals, which is perhaps the biggest hint.

For me, this put the series into a new perspective and I appreciate it more now. What had previously appeared to be inconsistencies between episodes turned out to be intended differences.

Any comments on the above are most welcome - agree or disagree or just call me stupid for not realising this is blatantly obvious to the rest of you! I
apologise in advance for any factual errors I have made due to this being all from memory and no references being consulted.
Very entertaining sequel8/10
As far as I know, this one usually gets a bad rap, but I've always liked it a lot (but then, it was only the second one I saw, right after "Conquest"). How can you NOT like Severn Darden as the leader of the mutants? (He really walks a line between being serious and funny, being mainly a comedy actor.) And France Nuyen (in probably a smaller part than she'd been used to), as his aide, who's a little like a secretary with a crush on the boss, only in this weird setting. And Austin Stoker (an actor I know from hardly anything else) as McDonald, Caesar's human friend, was very believable. And of course, it was probably the Ape movie with the most well-known actors in ape roles - Claude Akins, Lew Ayres, John Huston, Paul Williams. There's one thing I never completely thought about till the last time I saw it (only days ago) - practically the last moment of the story (apart from the crying statue) does something that almost "deflates" the "message" of these movies - after all the endless strife between the apes and humans in these stories, the last thing you see is the little ape jokingly pulling the hair of the little girl. So even in the sequels (not just the original, which does get credit for this), the writers didn't really take the whole thing TOO seriously.