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April 20, 2018

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) --- "Who Will Conquer? Apes Or Man?"

Plot Summary
In this third sequel to "Planet of the Apes," the apes turn the tables on the human Earth population when they lead a revolt against their cruel masters in the distant year of 1990. By doing this it creates the time loop that leads to the first film. "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" is cinematically etched in broad, brash strokes slashing social satire and science fiction suspense with large-scale spectacle. (1) 

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Scriptwriter Paul Dehn returns for this film, while the director has changed once again. This time its visionary director J. Lee Thompson (The Guns of the Navarone), who is known for his excellence filmmaking and creating reputable films. Together Dehn and Thompson created an amazing film.

     Planet of the Apes (POTA) became one of the most successful film series by 1972 with the release of its 4th installment, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. There is doubt whatsoever that Conquest is the most violent of the original five and the only one to receive a PG rating (present-day PG-13), the others having received a G rating (present-day PG) and there was no PG-13 in 1972. Since the 2nd installment, POTA has been dubbed as a worthless series that should have ended with the first film but if all the films were worthless then why are there five films? I blame this criticism on the fact that many people wanted Charles Heston to play in all the films. But the fact of the matter is that Heston believed sequels were a waste of time. The only reason he did a reappearance in the 2nd installment is because it was a favor to a friend who staked his career on making the first POTA. In addition, many people don’t fully understand these films and try to play them off as having mindless violence with confusing and contradictory storylines. But that is not the case.
     Conquest plays a pivotal role in the series with its appropriately somber tone and harsh reality as it deals with the rage that transpired as a result of the events in Escape.  The film covers the 'pre-history' of the first movie by telling the story of how Caesar, Zira, and Cornelius’ son, leads the enslaved apes to a life of dominance over man. I can see why this film was continually flagged by the censors who refused to give the film a PG rating until all the cuts were made. Even with all the cuts made this is still the most harshly realistic film. It shows the horrors that the apes endured prior to their evolution and explains why the humans are later hunted down for sport.
     The cast was solid with some excellent performances. Ricardo Montalban reprises his role as Armando, POTA regular Natalie Trundy returns this time as Lisa, and Roddy McDowell returns this time as Caesar (Cornelius in previous films). Of the three, McDowell really comes into his own as Caesar than he ever did as Cornelius, primarily due to Zira stealing the show. Don Murray as Breck the evil governor is a little too theatrical, while Severn Darden is adequate as Breck’s more reserved assistant, Kolp.

     Overall, Conquest of Planet of the Apes (1972) has action, humor, and drama to make it the best in the series so far. As the only film to receive a PG rating (present-day PG-13) - the others having received a G rating (present-day PG) - Conquest plays a pivotal role in the series with its appropriately somber tone and harsh reality. It deals with the rage that has transpired as a result of the events in Escape (1971), and the performances from Ricardo MontalbanRoddy McDowell, and Natalie Trundy were solid. If you have been following the original series and you have wanted more action or drama then Conquest is for you. I highly recommend this film to any fan of the series.

"But now... now we will put away out hatred. Now we will put down our weapons. We have passed through the Night of the Fires. And who were our masters are now our servants. And we, who are not human, can afford to be humane. Destiny is the will of God. And, if it is man's destiny to be dominated, it is God's will that he be dominated with compassion and understanding. So, cast out your vengeance. Tonight, we have seen the birth of the Planet of the Apes!"
- Caesar [last lines] 

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  10 of 10 stars
Worth Buying:  10 of 10 stars

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John Carter (2012)
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Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World (1997)
Jurassic Park 3 (2001)
Jurassic World (2015)    
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King Kong (2005)
King Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Planet of the Apes 2, Beneath the (1970)
Planet of the Apes 3, Escape from (1971)
Planet of the Apes 5, Battle for the (1973) 
Planet of the Apes 6 (2001)
Planet of the Apes 7, Rise of the  (2011)
Planet of the Apes 8, Dawn of the  (2014)
Planet of the Apes 9, War for  (2017)
Rampage (2018)

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