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Retrospective: Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

So it's come to the fifth and final entry into the first Planet of the Apes series, but surely the series is going to end on a high note? Unfortunately not. Enjoyable as it is, Battle for the Planet of the Apes is the weakest in the series.

The story is told in flashback by the Great Lawgiver of the Apes (and it's only John frickin Huston!), who explains to us that a huge nuclear war has taken place and the world is now been reduced to rubble. We once again see the apes fighting against a group of mutant humans, and a calmer Caesar trying to create peace between the two races.

Once again, the reliable J. Lee Thompson was brought aboard to direct, and once again, on a minimal budget. Caesar is far more likeable in Battle, he seems to have relaxed and changed from the benevolent tyrant that he was in the previous movie. Roddy McDowall, once again delivers but Caesar does not feature hugely in this.

Battle for the Planet of the Apes, as the title would suggest is far more a generic war film, largely consisting of fun, slightly chaotic battle scenes. On a bigger budget, this could have been a grand, epic conclusion to the apes saga, but unfortunately has to settle for being rather cheap and forgettable. Regardless of this it's nice to see the series has been brought full circle, but it's a long way away from the powerful first entry.

Ten years from the release of the original picture, the saga has become slightly tired, however the series still has to milked for a live action TV series and animated series. As an avid Planet of the Apes fan, I'll watch each entry into the series and appreciate them all, even the much despised Tim Burton re-imagining which is coming up next...



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