20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2008
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is by no means "a very bad film" as the first reviewer here put it. It's actually a very well thought out film that does reflect some of the social upheaval in the United States during the late 60's and early 70's. Planet of the Apes films have always been a comment on the social climate during the period they were made.
Conquest is the darkest film of the Apes series, and the two different versions on the Blu-ray disc have varying levels of violence. The uncut version is very in your face and bloody and ends on a very violent note, which if you discount the fifth movie in the series Battle for the Planet of the Apes, makes a perfect transition to the first Apes film which is set after Conquest chronologically. In the first Apes film men are hunted for sport by apes, used for medical experiments and treated like animals. It was a pretty violent film for it's day as well.
The PG rated version of Conquest ends on a much more upbeat note that the timeline may have changed and that things might not end up so badly. There is still violence but not as much blood as the uncut version. It's really great to be able to see both versions of the film so that you can see where the film makers originally intended it to go and what the test audiences did not like about the movie before it was re-edited.
The film was directed by J. Lee Thompson who also directed The Guns of Navarone. And the look of the film is very deliberate. I suppose one could complain as the previous reviewer did that the artistic use of colors in the film is distracting, but I feel it shows that the creators of this film actually put some thought into how they wanted the audience to react to the characters and environments on the screen. One also has to remember that this movie was made several years before Star Wars came on the scene and changed the way we look at special effects in science fiction films. But for the period it was made in the costumes and effects are very well done. Personally I love the look of the city in the film but then I'm a bit of a apes fan to begin with.
Anyway in my opinion this is my favorite of the Apes sequels. If your an apes fan or you've seen the first three but never checked out the fourth, the Blu-ray version is the one to get. You get to see both versions of the film in very good video quality with great sound as well.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2012
Interesting that each film seems to have been written with the idea that it would be the last one, but this one is referred to as "an action-packed finale", although we know there is one more. Perhaps they mean climax.
At one point in the "Escape from" movie, an explanation for how things got so terribly turned around between humans and apes was offered. A plague killed off the dogs and cats, and humans needed pets. So they made pets of monkeys. But when they found how smart they were, and how easy to train, they soon turned them into servants and then slaves, bought and sold just like in the antebellum south. And just like in those days, abused due to their similarity to humans.
Remember Milo, the baby Zira and Cornelius left in the care of the circus owner played by Ricardo Montalban? Through an unfortunate set of circumstances, he was sold to the governor who allowed him to choose his own name out of a book in a tradition he says started with his wife. Milo put his finger on the name Caesar.
So this is the story of the revolution led by Caesar, still the only ape that can speak and read and write, but by no means the only one that can understand. In fact, Ape Control has disturbing reports of (1) higher intelligence tests in apes all the time, and (2) deliberate acts of disobedience. Once the apes have won, and vengeance seems inevitable, Caesar persuades the mob that they will rule by kindness and understanding, and show themselves to be better than their former masters.
Of course, it's not hard to be better than brutes who are so obviously over-drawn characters that they were SS-like black uniforms and jack-boots. I was expecting them to do a stiff-armed salute any minute.
It is an interesting link in the chain that circles round to the original movie, but I'm looking forward to the last one the most: that's the only one I have not seen before. Up next.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This is the forth installment in the POTA's series and I'm aware that this film was severely cut before releasing it in theaters. Fortunately they have restored the edited scenes in an extended version available only on Blu Ray. This was done to "Battle for" on standard DVD a few years ago. The theatrical release of the film is pretty good, but a bigger budget would have helped it a great deal. The problem with most of the POTA sequels is that they were pushing for a G rating so kids could go see them. This is the studios idea, not the directors of the films. The sequels are too middle ground. Too violent for the kids, but too tame for adults! I don't mean to be harsh on these films as I am a big fan! I saw them all at the theaters growing up and have seen them many times now. This is a good film that could have been much better....hopefully the Blu Ray extended version retores the original vision of the story. The DVD transfer is very good and I will add more once I've watched the Blu Ray.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2005
This fourth entry in the Planet of The Apes is by far the most straightforward and violent in the series. The scenes of revolt by the apes are tame by todays standards but are still effective. especially considering the small budget director J.Lee Thompson had to work with. He makes the film look much bigger in scope than it really was.
The story begins with Caesar,the son of Zira and Cornelius from The 3 earlier films and it was a great touch allowing Roddy McDowall to portray both father and son. He goes into a city with mentor Armando. The circus owner from the third film Escape From The Planet of The Apes and again portrayed by Ricardo Montalban and sees what has become of his fellow apes. They were at first being treated as pets to replace the dogs and cats that were wiped out by a plague only to become slave labor for humans. He cries out when a fellow ape is beaten and runs away. Armando goes to the police to explain and is interrogated. In the process he kills himself rather than betray Caesar to the authorities. Who were never sure that the baby of the talking apes was really killed as shown in the previous film and believe Armando was lying to protect Caesar.
Caesar hides among his fellow apes and ends up being sold to Governor Breck. Breck is the regional governor and not at all sympathetic to apes and is Ceasars nemesis in the film. Caesar after learning of Armandos death and also sickened by his fellow apes treatment gradually leads his fellow apes to a full blown revolt. The social commentary in this film deals with the treatment of others and gets the point across nicely without being too heavy handed. As I stated earlier it is the acting that really carries this installment and director Thompson delivers in that department. Roddy McDowall gives what I feel is his finest performance in the series his speech in the end is amazing and shows what an underrated actor he was and Don Murray more than holds his own as Breck. He is cold harsh man and The scene where he reveals why he is afraid of apes is a great reversal of Dr. Zaius' fear of humans in the original film and his entire performance is a nice compliment to McDowalls. The supporting cast including the above mentioned Ricardo Montalban,Hari Rhodes as McDonald the human who helps Caesar and series vet Natalie Trundy all deliver in their roles and help make this arguably the best of apes sequels.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2012
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, 1972 film
The story begins with a mov of red-suited apes who perform the jobs that ordinary Americans won't do. [No green cards needed?] These immigrants are legal. Armando leads his trained ape. "That's better." The authorities warn about apes gathering in the streets. [Don't they seem almost human?] A mysterious disease killed all the dogs and cats, so humans adopted apes as pets. Then they put them to work at simple tasks. There are protests over the conditions. The police club the protesters. Armando explains where Caesar can hide - among his own kind. The humans want to exterminate any intelligent ape given the unrest of the ape population. [Are there political overtones to their speech?] The chimps are fingerprinted, then given treatment and treatment.
Armando is questioned. The chimps are trained to do useful work. Some are selected for special tasks. Chimps are auctioned off to buyers. [A job fair?] The Governor buys one to serve drinks. Caesar is given another job. Will the authenticator get the truth from Armando? Will there be an accident? Later a chimp acts up. So do others. The Governor orders the arrest of chimps. Will Caesar be on the list? The only way left to the chimps is revolution to gain power. A dragnet will be ordered to round up all unaccompanied apes. A electric shock makes Caesar talk. "He's dead." "It's over." Or is it? The chimps revolt against their rulers. Can they succeed? Flames keep them back for awhile. They advise citizens to keep indoors. They will shoot to kill any rebellious chimp. "Do not panic!" The chimps splash a liquid from red cans. "No! Go home!" "Back!" Gunfire creates panic.
Riot Control reports the apes have broken through. More police are called in. The chimps throw Molotov cocktails, they run wild. Can they overwhelm the police? Is this the end of civilization as we know it? The apes raid stores for guns! It's the human's worst nightmare. "How?" "They don't have the intelligence." [Could it be evolution?] The Governor meets Caesar and explains the reason for his policy towards apes. Should the apes show humanity? It's too late. They have plans for their future. Today Los Angeles, tomorrow the world? There is a surprise speech to end this story.
Will there be a sequel to this movie? The ending sort of promises one. This is a some what better and more dramatic story than the earlier movie. Were the apes meant to represent the rebellious students of that era? It is true to say they will take over the Earth in the future.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The fourth movie in the "Planet of the Apes" series is a decent albeit no-frills affair. Roddy McDowall once again stars, this time as Caesar, the son of Cornelius (who he played in earlier films) and Zira. Caesar is the only talking ape on Earth, although he's been hidden by circus owner Armando (Ricardo Montalban). When Armando takes Caesar into public for the first time, he relates to Caesar how apes came to become the #1 pet in the country, which also serves as narration for the audience. Apparently, a plague from space killed all the dogs and cats in the 1980s, and Americans turned to apes and other primates to replace them. By 1991 when the film is set, though, humans essentially have turned primates into slaves, forcing them run errands, clean their homes, and even work as waiters in restaurants. However, all of that will soon change once Caesar is discovered by the fascist Governor Breck.
"Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" is weaker than the prior three movies in the series. The final battle, in particular, is kind of ridiculous and suffers from the film's low budget; unfortunately, the weakness of this section undercuts the social message of the movie. Another debit is the lack of explanation regarding how the US had become an oppressive society so quickly since the last Apes movie. Incidentally, if you haven't seen the first three films, you probably will be totally lost, as "Conquest" is quite dependent on the Apes mythology. Despite these weaknesses, "Conquest" is a relatively enjoyable movie. What I found most interesting was how the makers of these movies managed to make each one different in plot and tone - "Conquest" wasn't just a rehash of the prior entries, preventing the series from falling into predictability. Although I found "Conquest" to be rather lackluster, it was good enough to make me want to see the fifth and final Apes film, "Battle for the Planet of the Apes."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2014
While watching the original Apes film for the first time, one of the thoughts I remember having was "wouldn't it be cool to see exactly HOW the apes revolted against the humans?". Well, "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" gives us exactly that.
For a basic plot summary, "Conquest" continues the sotry of the offspring of Cornelius and Zira, sheltered on Earth by circus owner Armando (Ricardo Montalbon). Now branded as Ceasar (Roddy McDowell), the advanced-intelligence chimpanzee bristles at the slave-like treatment of apes in the "future" (1991), eventually leading the revolt that will change the world.
The key "drawing card" of this movie is the last half hour, when we actually get to see the apes revolt against their human masters. Worth the price of admission alone is the epic speech given by Ceasar as he leads the apes in their conquest. After all the ape history talked about in the previous three movies, it is exhilarating to actually SEE it transpiring.
"Conquest" is also strange, though, in that it is unfortunate that it had to come after "Escape", which was, I believe, a commercial failure (because of its satirical nature). This movie gets back to more serious roots, but it seems like the damage had already been done. The budget is paper-thin, and the run-time clocks in at just under 90 minutes. Of all the movies in the Apes franchise, this is the one that could have been expanded into something much more epic. Instead, it gets a rather bland, low-budget treatment.
Overall, though, I can still enjoy "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" because of those ape revolt scenes and the great character of Caesar. By this point, if you haven't "bought in" to the series you won't even be watching, so it is for the true Ape-heads.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2013
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
While nothing can top the original movie, this has always been my second favorite film of the series ... Bought the BluRay mainly to view the unedited version .. It's far bloodier than it needed to be, so I understand why those edits were ultimately made - but I appreciated the darker tone of the unedited ending. It's a shame that the Ape sequels never measured up in quality to the original production - but it's entertaining to see how the producers tried to create a futuristic society on a limited budget.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
"CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES" is the third sequel to the 1968 science fiction film "PLANET OF THE APES". It continues the exploration of the fictional future history of mankind set out in the previous film, "ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES," and considered to be the most violent of the Ape sequels. The film is directed by J. Lee Thompson.
Building upon the description given by Cornelius and Zira before the Presidential Committee in the previous film, a terrible disease has killed off the world's cats and dogs, leaving humans with no animals to keep as pets, except apes. In time, humans notice the apes' capacity to learn and adapt, thus they are taught to perform menial household tasks. By the year 1991, human society has become a sterile and more oppressive culture, with apes enslaved by humans.
Armando (played by Ricardo Montalban) and his ape Milo, visit Central City where Armando details how the apes became enslaved. He also warns the young chimpanzee to be careful in the city, should anyone find out he is the offspring of the two intelligent apes from the future, it would to lead to their deaths. As they walk through the streets of the city and are disgusted by witnessing the apes cleaning streets and delivering packages, witnessing the atrocities done to the apes when they don't comply. Seeing and ape beaten and drugged, Milo shouts "Lousy human bastard!" Armando quickly tries to take responsilbilty by explaining to security that it was he that shouted. As the crowd around them get agitated, Milo runs away, followed by Armando.
Hiding in a stairway, Armando says that he will go to the authorities and try to smooth things over by bluffing his way out of the trouble they're in, explaining that his ape had escaped. In the meantime, Milo must hide among his own kind, among the apes that are being trained for slavery. He goes through the violent conditioning process and is sold to Governor Breck. Breck, knowing only the ape's assigned number, uses and old family method to give him a name: taking out a dictionary, he allows the ape to flip through it, thereby naming himself. Milo's finger comes to rest on "Caesar". So christened, Caesar is then put to work by Breck's subordinate MacDonald, a descendant of slaves himself, making him sympathetic towards the apes.
Meanwhile, Armando is being interrogated by the authorities who believe the circus ape may be the offspring of the two evolved apes from the future. Putting him in a machine that forces people to tell the truth. Rather than being forced to tell the truth, Armando throws himself out of a window, resulting in his death. Seeing the death of his father figure, the only human he loved, Caesar loses faith in human kindness and begins to plot and ape rebellion.
Caesar secretly teaches the other apes the art of combat (although orangutangs are not seen fighting or even with the rest of the apes), as well as having them gather weapons such as knives, guns, flame throwers and grenades. However, at this time, Breck discovers that the manifest of the vessel that delivered Caesar lists no chimpanzee aboard. Suspecting that Caesar may be the ape the authorities have been looking for, Breck brings Caesar in and connects him to a torture machine, forcing Caesar to speak. Once he does, Breck has the machine turned full power killing Caesar, or so they think. MacDonald has tampered with the machine, secretly allowing the ape to live and return to the rebellion.
Caesar leads and ape revolt on Central City against their human keepers. The apes riot against the human forces and emerge victorious. Caesar has Breck marched out, planning to execute him. MacDonald appeals to Caesar's humanity to show mercy on his former persecutor. Caesar doesn't listen, and in a rage, details how from this point on, apes everywhere will repeat what has happened in Central City, dominating the Earth after the downfall of human civilzation, and instructing apes enslave the humans that are left. Caesar immediately rethinks his position and orders the apes to put down their weapons. "If it is man's destiny to be dominated, then it is God's will that he be dominated with compassion and understanding," says Caesar. The humans' slavery of the apes comes to an end, and the world has seen the birth of the Planet of the Apes.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2010
I just watched this last night after having not seen it for at least twenty years. Compared to all of the other "Apes" sequels, this one holds up the best for me.
"Beneath" feels like "Apes" lite: I kept thinking, "When are we getting back to Charlton Heston?"
"Escape" is probably the silliest to me (although it has one of my favorite soundtracks in the series.)
And "Battle" just comes off as cheap and shoddy. Most of the run time is spent in a grove of trees with treehouses.
In "Conquest", I like the colors of the apes' jumpsuits. I also like the sets, and the use of Century City was a great choice as the nameless "futuristic" city of 1991. The actors did a good job. Don Murray made a wonderful villain and Ricardo Montalban and Roddy McDowall were both excellent.
If you're hyper-critical and are going to be bothered by a reality check, you probably shouldn't watch movies like this one (or maybe ANY movies, because they're an escape from reality.) If you enjoy sci-fi with a fascist Orwellian setting (kind of like the present time we live in) this is fun.