Battle for the Planet of the Apes [1973]

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CONTAINS SPOILERS

The final chapter in the incredible Apes saga. The most suspenseful showdown ever filmed as two civilizations battle for the right to inherit what’s left of the earth!

Directed by J. Lee Thompson

Reviewed by Deep Red

Aka Colonization of the Planet of the Apes

The fifth and last of the original film series and it’s been emotional, sort of. I’ve definitely enjoyed every film, there’s a fine line between barmy and unique and these buggers walk it, no doubt about that. There are two television series too which I must get round to seeing at some point: Planet of the Apes [1974] and Return to the Planet of the Apes [1975]. I just can’t get enough of the ‘Apes’ for some reason. I wonder if there’ll be a new television series that accompanies the latest films at some point, that’d be interesting.

Anyway, this one, ‘Battle’, takes place over a decade after events in ‘Conquest’ and again stars Roddy McDowall as Caesar; Natalie Trundy also reprises her role from ‘Conquest’ as Lisa. Caesar and Lisa are now married and have a son called Cornelius (Bobby Porter). The brother of human MacDonald from ‘Conquest’ is played by Austin Stoker.

Well, first of all The Lawgiver (John Huston), an orangutan, recaps on ‘Escape’ and ‘Conquest’ with flashbacks from those films; there’s an animated version of The Lawgiver as an optional introduction to each film in the set too, quite cool.

“Ape shall never kill ape.”

There’s an uneasy peace between apes and humans, the gorillas lead by General Aldo (Claude Akins) are particularly unhappy. Caesar is trying to keep the peace.

Caesar, MacDonald and an orangutan called Virgil (Paul Williams) set off to the Forbidden City and the archives where humans lead by Governor Kolp (Severn Darden) live. They find recordings of Zira and Cornelius but are nearly captured and their curiosity sparks a war between the humans of the Forbidden City and Ape City.

When Cornelius is killed by Aldo and what with the Forbidden City humans advancing on Ape City all hell is set to break loose….

It’s a great ending to the original series. Five great films, that’s pretty good going when you think about it. Is this a weaker film than the original or ‘Beneath’ or ‘Escape’ or even ‘Conquest’? No, I don’t think it is. I don’t think there’s a weak film in the series, just comes down to which ones you prefer more than anything. ‘Battle’ is a great film. I particularly liked the gorillas in this one, they’ve always been my favourite ape of the series as they’re usually pissed off about something and Claude Akins is great as Aldo. This set doesn’t cough up the definitive version, the extended version, of ‘Battle’ but the theatrical version is excellent anyway.

Also stars Paul Stevens as Mendez, Lew Ayres as Mandemus and Noah Keen as Abe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBH6uUFJsR8