Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

Escape from the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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Escape from the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Escape from the Planet of the Apes is a 1971 science fiction film directed by Don Taylor and starring Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter. It’s a good sequel.

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Because I loathe bananas!

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Escape from the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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After the events of ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’, Zira, Cornelius and Dr. Milo board the spaceship and fly off from the dying Earth, enter a time vortex and end up in the year 1973. The film basically follows the relationship between humans and apes as they examine and question them about the future of the humanity.
This is a good story, but it is also a story that demanded the least amount of special effects as we basically have just three apes here and that’s it. No fantastic occurencies or action scenes whatsoever. That is why the critics loved it so much along with its thematic resonance, but to me that is exactly why the previous film was more entertaining.

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Escape from the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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But this is still a pretty good film, although far from my favorites in the series. Government intrusion and especially the experimentation on animals are well explored. I liked its character-driven, slower approach and to me the film dealt pretty realistically with such a situation. The highlights were the first act and especially the scene where the humans realize that the apes can talk and are extremely smart and the ending which is emotional and features such a pleasant, yet again unexpected twist as this franchise usually so wonderfully does.
To me those doctors who befriend the apes are fine and likable, but none of them are memorable and this is just a showcase for the characters of Zira and Cornelius as Dr. Milo dies pretty quickly. Cornelius is fine, but Zira is much better developed and although sometimes annoying, she is still a very sympathetic, charming person whom I liked quite a bit in this movie. The acting was also pretty satisfactory, certainly better than in the previous flick.
Escape from the Planet of the Apes is technically very well made as the filmmakers this time around didn’t have to deal with the whole lot of effects as in the previous flicks. The pacing is fine and the film is engaging from start to finish. I liked its scientific and political discussions and the film seemed grounded in reality and rarely over-the-top.

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Escape from the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

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The major problem is its humor which is very problematic at times and sometimes bordering on the campy territory. And there is one scene that absolutely infuriated me. That is the scene where the two explain how apes rebelled against humans. In ‘Planet of the Apes’ it is stated that the apes do not know about their origin and history and this movie now states that they do. That was obviously a major inconsistency that disrespected one of the biggest focal points from the original just for the sake of setup for the next two movies, I believe. Very disappointing. But at least the film is otherwise devoid of plot inconsistencies and plot holes.

I can see why the critics love Escape from the Planet of the Apes as it is rich in themes and pleasantly slow paced and more character-driven, but to me it was safer that way and less entertaining which is why I liked the previous movie more. The humor is also hit-or-miss. But the film is still very well scripted, Zira is very well utilized here and there are many great scenes such as that wonderful ending leading to a pretty satisfactory sequel in the end.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 1970s, 1971, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS, Science Fiction and tagged , , , , , , .

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