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The Planet of the Apes story concludes in the fifth film of the series, Battle for the Planet of the Apes. in 1973. This film continues on from the 1972 film, Conquest for the Planet of the Apes.
Battle for the Planet of the Apes follows on from the events of the previous film, Conquest for the Planet of the Apes, during which apes conquered their human oppressors thanks to the leadership of the ape, Caesar. Years later, in the early 21st century, Caesar is attempting to encourage peace between the apes and surviving humans in the post-nuclear society. However one of the gorillas, General Aldo, is against the coexistence of apes and humans and plans to lead a civil war against Caesar. At the same time Caesar embarks on a trip to the radioactive ruins known as Forbidden City, to search the archives for records on his parents as well as information they had about the future of the planet. A group of humans, scarred by the radiation, are living in Forbidden City under the command of Governor Kolp and plan to attack the ape society who they see as a threat. Caesar must try to restore stability to the fragile ape-human society before it crumbles.
I thought that this was an average film that fails to add anything new to the Planet of the Apes saga. The story is interesting in that it demonstrates the fragile nature of the ape-human society and the prejudice amongst the different species and the struggle to maintain a peaceful society. There are some action scenes, but they are not as exciting as in the other films in the series. There is a little use of special effects, mainly in the action scenes, but I felt that this was film look a bit cheap in places and lacking of a decent budget. The character of Caesar works well as the leader of the society, but I felt that the other characters were a bit weak, apart from the character of General Aldo. This is a weak conclusion to the ape story.
In my opinion, Roddy McDowall delivers another great performance as Caesar, who attempts to keep the fragile ape-human society from crumbling. Claude Akins is also great as the aggressive General Aldo, who threatens to rebel against Caesar’s rule in protest of treating humans as equals. I was not overly impressed by Severn Darden as the evil Governor Kolp who plans to attack the apes. The film also stars Natalie Trundy, Austin Stoker, Paul Williams, Lew Ayres and John Huston.
This is a weak film by J. Lee Thompson which suffers from a poor story and characters. It is a poor end to the Planet of the Apes series.