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Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

As the Apes films wore on, they became less interesting. While this isn't as much so as the last film (Battle for the Planet of the Apes), it continues the strong political subtext in the story, drawing on themes seen throughout literature.

There's strong shades of 1984 and the police state suppression of the masses (where men are the overlords and apes are the masses), racial division and discrimination, and once again, middle America's fear of revolt by the minorities it's repressed for two centuries – blacks and native Americans. Unfortunately, they'd all but dried up in Battle for the Planet of the Apes, which was simply an action film depicting the descent of the Earth into the state we saw it in when Taylor and his colleagues landed in the first film.

As an entertainment piece it's less successful, with none of the striking aspects of its predecessors (even Escape from the Planet of the Apes, while a smaller, less world-beating film than the original and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, had more to offer cinematically).

There are some good visuals and ideas - like the ape shambling along the city street in the beginning wearing the state-sponsored outfit. But like some of the filmed versions of the great 'anti-oppression' literature of the 60's and 70s (like Fahrenheit 451), it's a better idea than a movie.

Cornelius and Zira's son – Caesar, who survived at the end of Escape from the Planet of the Apes chase in which his parents died – is raised by kindly circus owner Armando (montalban). Meanwhile, after a virus has wiped out the cat and dog populations of the earth, apes have risen to subhuman level, and become the slave race to humanity, an interesting reversal of the fortunes from the first movie and the seed for the evolution of that world.

From hiding, Caesar organises a revolt, and the apes start to overrun the Earth to form the world where apes and humans will switch places on the food chain, the world we meet in the original movie years in the future. It ends bloodily but open enough for the last sequel of the series.

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