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Underreated Entry In This Classic Series
R. Snyder | 01/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This fourth entry in the Planet of The Apes is by far the most straightforward and violent in the series. The scenes of revolt by the apes are tame by todays standards but are still effective. especially considering the small budget director J.Lee Thompson had to work with. He makes the film look much bigger in scope than it really was.
The story begins with Caesar,the son of Zira and Cornelius from The 3 earlier films and it was a great touch allowing Roddy McDowall to portray both father and son. He goes into a city with mentor Armando. The circus owner from the third film Escape From The Planet of The Apes and again portrayed by Ricardo Montalban and sees what has become of his fellow apes. They were at first being treated as pets to replace the dogs and cats that were wiped out by a plague only to become slave labor for humans. He cries out when a fellow ape is beaten and runs away. Armando goes to the police to explain and is interrogated. In the process he kills himself rather than betray Caesar to the authorities. Who were never sure that the baby of the talking apes was really killed as shown in the previous film and believe Armando was lying to protect Caesar.
Caesar hides among his fellow apes and ends up being sold to Governor Breck. Breck is the regional governor and not at all sympathetic to apes and is Ceasars nemesis in the film. Caesar after learning of Armandos death and also sickened by his fellow apes treatment gradually leads his fellow apes to a full blown revolt. The social commentary in this film deals with the treatment of others and gets the point across nicely without being too heavy handed. As I stated earlier it is the acting that really carries this installment and director Thompson delivers in that department. Roddy McDowall gives what I feel is his finest performance in the series his speech in the end is amazing and shows what an underrated actor he was and Don Murray more than holds his own as Breck. He is cold harsh man and The scene where he reveals why he is afraid of apes is a great reversal of Dr. Zaius' fear of humans in the original film and his entire performance is a nice compliment to McDowalls. The supporting cast including the above mentioned Ricardo Montalban,Hari Rhodes as McDonald the human who helps Caesar and series vet Natalie Trundy all deliver in their roles and help make this arguably the best of apes sequels."