January 17, 2014

Escape + Conquest + Battle For the Planet of the Apes

[Digital Drift 2014]

1971: Escape from the Planet of the Apes
1972: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
1973: Battle for the Planet of the Apes

The remaining three movies from the original series of five get the Drift treatment. Again we went in having never seen any of them and reviewed them immediately following our first watch. So our emotions are raw and reactions pretty strong. 

Escape turned out to be a 70s flavoured political thriller, not unlike a small scale Winter Soldier which we watched around the same time. It also had the most heart of the five. Conquest is a film that Rise ended up being patterned after, with a harsh undercurrent of slavery and revolution at its core and a hastily rewritten ending. Then the series went from a place of strength to wobbly, embarrassing, confused, and laughably mismanaged as it farted out of existence with Battle for the Planet of the Apes, which bears the unmistakable signs of the crazy mutants of the rushed second movie; Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall remain the standout stars of these three and what they manage with the basic ape masks is genuinely impressive. Hopefully our disgust at Battle won’t dissuade some of you from digging into Ape history with the others.  

Next week we return to the movie that ruined Alex’s 21st birthday to see if it’s still as awful as we remember. Tim Burton’s re-imagining of the original Planet of the Apes.


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