Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5   User Rating 3 out of 5
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
PG

The "Planet of the Apes" series started well, and gradually decreased in budget and quality. By "Battle" the budget is all but gone, and all the believability and excitement has gone with it.

Some years after the events depicted in "Conquest" the apes are now in power. Some 'domesticated' humans are being kept as servants, while a few other revolutionary Homo sapiens (armed with modern weapons) are planning to win their planet back. Caesar (McDowell) is keen to make the world a better place for all, but has to deal with bubbling tensions between the species as well as the threat of civil war instigated by gorilla general Aldo (Atkins).

"Battle" merely plays out the future history that has been described in the previous instalments. This means that anyone familiar with the franchise will find it a frustratingly unsurprising retread. And those who haven't had the benefit of all the Apes films will find themselves watching something that only really makes sense if you know the full back-story. "Escape" and "Conquest" also suffered from this problem, but unlike "Battle", they had the script and budget to get by regardless.

The performances are all adequate, but the cheapening of the ape make-up makes all but the main characters immediately less believable. The savage battle sequences of the previous film have been sacrificed as well. What is left feels more like a TV movie than a blockbuster.

The most depressing aspect of this final cinematic stab is how unnecessary it feels. The series could have ended successfully with "Conquest" and probably should have done. In the meantime, "Battle" is worth watching for completists, but few others will find much to interest them.

Read reviews of all the "Ape" films.

See our "Planet of the Apes" mini-site.

End Credits

Director: J Lee Thompson

Writer: John William Corrington, Joyce Hooper Corrington

Stars: Roddy McDowall, Claude Akins, Natalie Trundy, Severn Darden, Lew Ayres, Paul Williams, Austin Stoker, Noah Keen

Genre: Classic

Length: 86 minutes

Cinema: 1973

VHS: 25 January 1999

Country: USA

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