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April 19, 2018

Escape from Planet of the Apes (1971) --- "They Traveled To The Past To Escape The Future. What Happens Next Will Make People Angry."

Plot Summary
In this second sequel to "Planet of the Apes," three apes flee their world before it's destroyed, and travel back in time to present-day America. When the humans discover that the trio are intelligent and capable of speech, they treat them as experimental research animals until they attempt to escape. (1) 

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Producer Arthur P. Jacobs (Planet of the Apes) recruited writer Paul Dehn (Goldfinger) with a brief telegram: “Apes exist. Sequel required” and immediately Dehn started writing the script for what would be Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), the 3rd film in the series. Again the director changed, this time with Don Taylor (Song of the Thin Man) at the helm and because of a small budget of $2.5 million the production schedule had to be followed to a-T. The film came to the big screen less than a year after its predecessor and not only did it do well at the box office it was also well received by critics; at least enough to where the studio requested a 4th film.

         Personally, I believe that this story is best of the originals, especially since the last film’s story could have had more depth. In reference to the last film’s ending, many viewers could argue that the POTA series was over but writer Paul Dehn did an amazing job in creating a story that could have plausibly happened; it manages to keep the series alive. In this film, chimpanzees Zira and Cornelius were able to escape in Taylor’s spaceship before the planet’s destruction at the end of the last film. In doing so they also experienced a time warp that brought them back in time to present day Earth 1973, almost 2,000 years in the past. At first, the two are accepted by human society and treated like celebrities around the world. However, once it’s learned that Zira is pregnant the humans fear that said child will bring about the Planet of The Apes they came from. Thus forcing the little family to go from honored guest to dangerous threats to humanity.
     Now critics enjoy nitpicking all the POTA (Planet of the Apes) sequels by saying that they’re confusing or they’re contradicting each other. However, I always believed that they managed to deliver an effective message about race, relationships, and prejudice with a good deal of intelligence in every film. How else could audiences accept the idea that apes could have intelligent conversations let alone salvage and pilot a spaceship? Here the very arrival of Zira and Cornelius, and later the birth their baby, means that everything leading up to an ape planet has been accelerated. Some of the details will change in accordance to what the pair know about ‘Ape History’ and the evolution rate of the apes will speed up.
     On another note, the acting was amazing. To this day I am still amazed with the ape masks and the mechanics of how they operate, especially for a film that came out in the early 70’s. Kim Hunter (POTA) gives her best performance as Zira and Roddy McDowall (POTA) takes back the reigns from David Watson (Beneath POTA) as Cornelius. Sal Mino (Exodus) as Dr. Milo was great and he pulled off the Thomas Edison of his type and time perfectly. Bradford Dillman (Compulsion) as Dr. Lewis Dixon and Natalie Trundy as Dr. Stephanie Branton are fantastic. I was surprised to find out that she played the mutant human Albina in Beneath, so I am glad she was able to return as a new character (possibly an ancestor). Eric Braeden (Titanic; Young and the Restless) is great as Dr. Otto Hasslein, the typical villain out to kill the talking apes at any cost.

     Overall, Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (1971) is probably the best film in the five-part series and it without a doubt makes up for the previous film’s lack of depth. This film has everything it needs to be a promising motion picture film; comedy, mystery, action, and above all a science-fiction quality to it. If you want you can stop with Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) but if you’re looking for the next adventure in the series (aside from the recent reboots) then I highly recommend this film to everyone.

"You're asking me to risk imprisonment for the sake of two fugitive apes? The answer is: a thousand times, yes."
- Armando

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  9 of 10 stars
Worth Buying:  9 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar 
 Legened of Tarzan (2016)
John Carter (2012)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World (1997)
Jurassic Park 3 (2001)
Jurassic World (2015)    
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) 
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 4, Conquest of the (1972)
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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