When I was told that this month’s roundtable was monkeys, the first thing that leapt into my mind was my favorite movie series of all time, Planet of the Apes. All right, that’s not completely true, anytime someone says monkey, usually the image of a monkey wearing diapers on roller skates smoking leaps immediately to mind, but it’s always closely followed by the Planet of the Apes…Promise!
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the fourth in the series, is also one of the most un-appreciated movies in the series, and it happens to be my personal favorite. Okay, there’s no Charlton Heston screaming at “damn dirty apes” and there’s no famous Statue of Liberty scene, but this movie is 70s sci fi at it’s best!
Conquest picks up a few years after Escape From The Planet of the Apes, with Cornelius and Zira’s son, Caesar living with Armando, the circus owner from Escape. Now, when Armando and Caesar travel to the city to promote the circus they have to be careful, Caesar is the only talking ape on the planet and is still being hunted by the authorities who want to make sure that the apes will never take over the planet.
Well, it seems that in the distant year of 1991, where the film takes place, a plague has wiped out all the dogs and cats on the planet, and since people need pets, they took to keeping apes. And, since apes learn things so well, why not teach them a little more than to just sit and roll over, why not teach them to run errands and clean the house up? So, in the futuristic year of 1991, the apes have made the lateral move from pet to slave, and when Caesar sees how the apes in the city are treated it makes him a little angry…he’s kind of like the ape version of Malcolm X in Conquest!
Well, after Caesar has an outburst, Armando is questioned by the authorities after he defends apes rights. During the questioning, in order to keep Caesar’s secret, Armando throws himself out a window to his death. When Caesar finds out about this, he gets a little upset and begins training apes in secret to over-throw their human masters, thus leading to the founding of the Planet of the Apes!
This is one of the best 70s sci fi movies there ever was! It’s got everything, social commentary; the apes and human clash is an obvious metaphor for race relations at the time, the humans who monitor the apes are all dressed like Nazi’s so if you don’t see which side of the conflict you should be on, then you’re more than a little thick! It’s got action; the taking of ape city and the battle that ensues at the end of the movie is still one of my favorite movie conflicts, and then there’s the love story between Caesar and Lisa the female ape, brings a little more dimension the ape character than revolutionary leader. Let me just say, this is a great movie! Conquest of the Planet of the Apes conquered my heart long ago, along with all the Planet of the Apes series, but this one is still my favorite. So, until next time, when I’ll attempt to over-throw the editor of Rogue Cinema and set free all of us lowly writers, remember that the best movies are bad movies.
Rogue Reviewers Roundtable Topic: Spank the Monkey
Brian’s Review Site: The Bad Movie Guy