Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

Smell the Movies
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Country of origin:USA
Director:J. Lee Thompson
Genre:When apes revolt!
Starring:Roddy McDowall, Don Murray, Natalie Trundy, Hari Rhodes
IMDB link:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068408/
Tagline:All new! The revolt of the apes. The most awesome spectacle in the annals of science fiction!
Favourite line:"Where there is fire, there is smoke. And in that smoke, from this day forward, my people will crouch and conspire and plot and plan for the inevitable day of Man's downfall - the day when he finally and self-destructively turns his weapons against his own kind. The day of the writing in the sky, when your cities lie buried under radioactive rubble! When the sea is a dead sea, and the land is a wasteland out of which I will lead my people from their captivity! And we will build our own cities in which there will be no place for humans except to serve our ends! And we shall found our own armies, our own religion, our own dynasty! And that day is upon you... now!"

Movie number four in the original series, and the one that would be used some 29 years later as the basis for the recent Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

The plot:
In 1983, a mysterious virus eliminates all of the cats and dogs in the world, leading humans to take in apes as pets and it's not long before the animals are being used by their masters to assist with household chores.
Skip forward eight years to 1991, and the world has taken to exploiting apes as slave labour. Caesar, the offspring of Cornelius and Zira, is a lone speaking ape, though this is a secret known only to his friend and master Armando.
Witnessing the brutalising of apes by humans in SS style uniforms, Caesar can hold his tongue no longer, and calls out an insult.
Identified now, Caesar becomes a target for the authorities - a talking ape is a dangerous precedent - and Caesar is forced to go into hiding but, secretly, he begins to train the rest of his kind, before leading them in an uprising against their former masters.

And it's captivating stuff.
Roddy McDowall, though caked in ape make-up, does a sterling job of wringing every last drop of pathos out of the plight of poor Caesar.
The realisation, though minimal due to the tightness of the budget, is nonetheless effective, as human society is portrayed as a fascistic, cold-hearted construct, humiliating and taking advantage of those who are weaker.
With a rousing finale that really does catch the breath in the throat, for a fourth outing in a franchise this is quality stuff indeed, and it's easy to see why this one was selected as the basis for a 21st century reimagining.
A genuine cult classic.

1 comment:

  1. When I walked into the theater to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I thought I was going to see a prequel to the whole series. This reboot of The Conquest of the Planet of the Apes was surprisingly good but I wish that Caesar’s speeches had carried over to the new film. I hope to see sequels of the remakes (seeing as they’re all cult classics) or at least a return of the “Return to the Planet of the Apes” animated series. I found all thirteen episodes on my job’s site, DISHonline.com, and I recommend them to anyone who is a fan of Planet of the Apes, new and old. Cult classic indeed!