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9/10
Escape From the Planet of the Apes (1971) ***1/2
JoeKarlosi16 February 2005
In a brilliant solution for continuing the storyline after the ending of BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES, three intelligent chimpanzees from Earth's future take off in Charlton Heston's salvaged spacecraft just prior to Earth's destruction; they wind up hurled backward in time to 1973 California and - in an interesting twist on the original theme - now find themselves the strange visitors in a strange world ruled by bombastic human beings.

Lovable simians Zira and Cornelius (expertly played by Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall) lose their friend Dr. Milo (Sal Mineo!) early on in a tragic accident, and find themselves in a strange situation when mankind first welcomes them as celebrities and garnishes them with gifts, but ultimately begins to fear when it is learned that Zira is pregnant with an ape offspring that could grow to overtake humanity.

We really grow to sympathize with the plight of the chimpanzee couple, and we fear along with them and the safety of their child when they become hunted fugitives later in the story. Eric Braeden is very good as the quintessential villain out to kill the ape family at any cost.

Some people enjoy picking on the APES sequels as they continued, but I've always felt this series consistently remained very intelligent and had something powerful to say about race relations and prejudice. People want to know how apes could ever manage to send Taylor's ship into orbit; I say that if you can suspend disbelief long enough to accept the notion of intelligent apes, then it shouldn't be that far a reach to accept that Dr. Milo was the genius of his time who just could pull it off; the Thomas Edision of his type, if you will.

The timeline in the five apes films is often admittedly contradictory, but there are ways that fans of the Apes movies have been able to make them work. For example, in this film Cornelius seems to talk about Ape History and Evolution in a way that actually doesn't follow suit during the next two installments. That's because the very arrival of Zira and Cornelius onto present-day Earth of 1973, and the subsequent birth of their baby, will accelerate the procedure from how Cornelius remembered it, as we'll see in the next two chapters. The circumstances for the future will be sped up and changed, and the apes will evolve at a much quicker rate.

Some of the other dubious complaints are aimed at the "lesser budgets," or supposed "TV Movie Look" of the sequels from this point on -- but this story in ESCAPE does not require mind-numbing special effects or hordes of CGI-rendered ape figures swarming Los Angeles to make it effective. It's got a lot of heart and good writing with characters we care about, and that's all it needs. ***1/2 out of ****
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6/10
A Film in its Own Right, Not Just a Sequel
JamesHitchcock29 April 2005
After "Planet of the Apes" was completed, its star, Charlton Heston, argued strongly that there should not be a sequel. The original film was complete in itself, and any sequel would only dilute its impact and tarnish its reputation. In the event, a sequel was made and Heston was reluctantly persuaded to appear in it. He suggested, however, that it should end with the destruction of the Earth, a denouement that, he hoped, would put paid to any attempt to extend the series beyond two films.

In one respect Heston was to be proved right. "Planet of the Apes" is a classic, one of the best science-fiction movies ever made and one that combines an exciting plot with philosophical depth. It is frequently said that sequels are generally inferior to the original films, but seldom is this is as true as in the case of "Beneath the Planet of the Apes", a hopeless mess of a film. Neither its lack of artistic merit, however, nor its explosive ending dissuaded the filmmakers from making a third "Apes" film. An ingenious device was found to avoid the problems posed by planetary destruction; it is explained that shortly before the Earth was destroyed three of the apes found the wreckage of Taylor's spacecraft, repaired it and used it to travel back in time to 1970s America.

Although one of the apes is killed in an unfortunate incident shortly after arrival, the American public take to the two survivors, Cornelius and his wife Zira (both of whom played important parts in the first two films). The two intelligent, talking chimpanzees become media celebrities, and the early scenes are much lighter in tone than the two earlier films, at times even comic, as the two apes become after-dinner speakers and discover the joys of alcohol. The tone, however, gradually darkens. Figures in the government become alarmed by talk of a future in which men are dominated by apes, and Dr Hasslein, the President's sinister Germanic adviser, (based on Henry Kissinger?) is convinced that Zira and Cornelius represent a threat to the human race, especially after it is discovered that Zira is pregnant.

My disappointment with "Beneath...." had hitherto dissuaded me from watching any more of the later episodes in the "Apes" canon, so I was pleasantly surprised by "Escape.......". Although it lacks the depth and brilliance of "Planet of the Apes", it is considerably better than its immediate predecessor. The reason for its relative success lies with the fine contributions of its two stars, Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter. Their characters played important supporting roles on the original film; here they take centre stage. The original had Heston's character Taylor at its centre, a human in danger from the apes. In "Escape......" the roles are reversed, with two lovable, and deeply human, apes in danger from humans. There is, however, a difference between the two films. The danger to Taylor came largely from ignorance; the apes, particularly Dr Zaius, saw him as a brute beast, like the other humans of their planet, and refused to listen to the evidence that suggested that he was, in fact, an intelligent being like themselves. Cornelius and Zira are in danger because of both their human and their non-human characteristics. Hasslein knows that they are intelligent beings who seem human and yet are not, and hates and fears them for precisely that reason. Just as they pitied and befriended Taylor, so they are in their turn befriended by two human scientists who try and save them from Hasslein.

There are a couple of inconsistencies between this and the earlier films, where the apes' society is shown as being technologically less advanced than ours, on a par with sixteenth or seventeenth century Europe. It is not explained how individuals from such a society could have succeeded in repairing and operating a spacecraft. Another inconsistency is that Cornelius and Zira know how the apes came to seize control of the Earth from humans and even state that this story is told in the Sacred Scrolls, the holy books of the apes' religion. In "Planet of the Apes" we are to understand that the Scrolls explicitly deny that humans ever had the powers of speech and reason, which is why Zaius is so reluctant to admit that Taylor can speak. These inconsistencies, however, are not really plot-holes as such and are unlikely to worry those who come to "Escape......." without having seen its predecessors. "Escape......." can be seen as a film in its own right rather than as a mere sequel, a film which starts out as a comedy and then turns into a serious thriller as the apes try to escape from their human enemies. Although it is less philosophical than the first film, it can perhaps be seen as an allegory of racism as Hasslein's paranoia leads him to treat as enemies those who bear no ill-will to him and his kind and whose only crime is to be different from him. It is significant that his name is derived from the German for "hate". 6/10
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Good sequel with a heart (yet people still don't get it)
mord395 October 2000
MORD39 RATING: *** out of ****

This third APES film ingeniously manages to keep the franchise alive and produces what is arguably the second best film of the five originals.

After the ultimate ending in BENEATH, who could have believed a new story was possible? Here the tables are turned from the original film with a remarkable twist: now three of our chimpanzee characters take off in Charlton Heston's spaceship and wind up going BACK in time, to "present Day" Earth (1973 A.D.) Once it is learned that Zira (Kim Hunter in her best performance in the series) is pregnant with the child that could possibly turn our future into the PLANET OF THE APES, she and her husband Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) go from becoming honored celebrities to dangerous threats to humanity!

It's a brilliant idea, and now it is possible to start the series anew (chronologically, this movie comes first) and see whether or not Taylor's nightmare from the first film can be prevented or will rear its ugly head for mankind.

A little defending is in order here. Many people get hung up on the story's notion that the chimpanzees can actually manage to fix Taylor's ship from the first film and actually launch it. Well, I say that if you can suspend disbelief long enough to accept the idea of a society of talking apes, why can't you accept that one of them (Dr. Milo) is a super-intelligent ape, sort of the "Albert Einstein" or "Thomas Edison" of his time? Besides, when folks get stuck on a point like that it becomes impossible for them to have a good time with a film. As Cornelius said in the movie: "Dr. Milo was a genius well in advance of his time." He was able to fly the ship. Case Closed.

Next case: the "TV Movie" look of the film. SO WHAT? People have become so accustomed to garbage like 1999's THE MUMMY that unless all films are over-swamped with spectacular sets and numbing effects, they can't enjoy them. Well, ESCAPE needs none of these to tell its simple story. It's got something that sci-fi stories today have lost..."heart".
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10/10
AMAZING movie!
Fire-WalkWithMe22 July 2003
'Escape' is my favorite of the Apes series. What can I say about it? It's just heartbreaking! These movies.. the endings are incredible! And especially in this one. You NEVER see these kind of endings now! I actually found myself crying! Though, the movie at the beginning, is just FUN! Ricardo Montalban was great in this, as was Roddy and Kim.

What more to say? EXCELLENT WONDERFUL movie!
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7/10
You Hear the one about the Chimps as Astronauts?
Bogmeister3 June 2006
The 3rd film in the Apes series (after "Beneath..."), this one is easily the most whimsical, at least in the first half. The writers had to stretch believability in getting the two primary apes of the 1st 2 films into our present times from the future, when Earth is destroyed by a doomsday bomb, but the first few scenes are almost classic farce disguised as science fiction storytelling. We view our central characters first as 'ape-onauts' and then stuck in a zoo, followed by a brief turn at celebrity when our populace becomes enamored of the two as the latest fad. The best and most clever thing about this sequel is that it utilizes the already well-known captivating characteristics of the chimps, delightfully performed again by McDowall and Hunter. They're kind of like old friends by this time and seeing them get acquainted with our modern-day culture is just good times. It's also a neat reversal on the ape society of the first two films, which was visited by aberrant intelligent humans.

Things turn grim in the 2nd half, as the fad wears off and our leadership begins to take the threat of possible future ape domination rather seriously. The most interesting character becomes the chief human scientist, played by Braeden, who starts out typically dispassionate but soon reveals an intense personal desire to preserve the human race and society, to the point of fanaticism. In his coldly intelligent eyes, only he sees the truly apocalyptic threat presented by the chimps' pregnancy. He's the nominal villain, but he sees himself as the only one who gives a damn. Some of the sf plot lines regarding time travel are very clever, while others are a bit clumsy. It's clever that the two evolved time-traveling chimps may now be the cause of the future time-line ruled by an ape society. But they reveal to have a knowledge of their history that did not exist in the previous two films. Also, rather than letting events evolve over a century or more following what happens here, the next film accelerates everything to change the world in the next 20 years - see "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes."
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Sure this is worth watching......
gazzo-215 December 2001
You have Ricardo Montalbon, you have Soap star Eric 'mustache' Breaden, and you have Sal 'Rebel without a Cause' Mineo. How can you go wrong? You have guys in Chimp suits. You have Roddy. You have Kim Hunter from the first flick. It's great.

My chief memory/image of the flick is seeing them, the trio of apes, being given the Star treatment, getting outta a limousine in front of a crowded city street, etc. That is very much a part of the flick. It was made in '71, and yeah it really, really looks it-but ya gotta like it. William Windom as da Prez is pretty cool too, def. a knockoff of hostile Nixon in places I would say.

This sets up the next two fine, though its both better than them and better than #2 in the run also. I think you can do worse than to sit through this.......

**1/2 outta ****
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7/10
Paradox of the Apes
incognitoami21 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Following the cataclysmic finale of Beneath the Planet of the Apes, there was only one logical direction for the series to go---> back to the future. The result is an illogically conceived and satirical prequel that will amuse and delight and ultimately devastate with its bleak Shakesperean tragedy.

When Taylor's spacecraft unexpectedly splashes down in 1973 and is retrieved by a military envoy, the three astronauts that emerge from the capsule are not revealed to be Taylor, Landon and Dodge, but rather the astonishing simian ape-chimps Cornelius, Zira and Milo... the third of which is a completely disposable character who is appropriately killed off very early by a caged zoo gorilla who was probably jealous that the talking simian chimpanzees were getting all of the attention. With Milo out of the picture, the story focuses on the relationship between Cornelius and Zira in ways that were not afforded the opportunity in the two previous films and is filled with tongue-in-cheek episodes inspired by Pierre Boulle's original novel as Cornelius and Zira go around "aping" 20th century human culture (a subtle and clever mockery of our own) in an attempt to make themselves fit in to our society.

While Cornelius and Zira make themselves at home as cultural "celebrities" they are being carefully monitored under the watchful auspices of the nefarious Dr. Otto Hasslein played by recognizable character actor Eric Braeden (of Young and the Restless fame) who listens with great interest to what the talking chimps have to say about where they came from during a Presidential Inquiry and how they managed to arrive in Taylor's spacecraft as Cornelius explains that the capsule was found when it washed ashore and was repaired by Milo -- an implausibility which is the film's glaring continuity error since Taylor's spacecraft sunk into the depths of the Forbidden Zone it is a far fetched conclusion that they somehow managed to not only find, retrieve and repair it (even if they had repaired Astronaut Brent's crashed spacecraft from Beneath which was overlooked as well) with engineering far in advance of their own intellectual ape intelligence (which Milo only "half-understood" as Cornelius describes it) but managed to do so and escape within a very small window of time before the planet was obliterated by the shock-wave of destruction catapulting them backwards in time and arriving at roughly the same destination and era as Taylor's original point of departure (it could be argued that these narrative inconsistencies support evidence of "Hasslein's Observed Time Curve" which suggest that a predestination paradox created alternate intersecting timelines as illustrated by the incongruent timeline of events between Conquest and Battle). Nevertheless, once you get past the major plot hole and just go with it, Escape is a fun and dramatically intense film but is my least favorite second only to the weakest link in the evolutionary Apes chain; Battle For The Planet of the Apes.

When Zira announces that she is pregnant, the film takes a dark and conspiratorial turn when the government realizes the consequence a race of intelligent talking apes will have on the future of our human society. In an effort to protect their newborn, Cornelius and Zira find refuge with Armando, a sideshow circus entertainer played by the extravagant Ricardo Montalban who gladly welcomes the simian family with open arms, but it isn't long before Dr. Otto Hasslein picks up the fugitives' trail and hunts them down in a tragic and inevitable climax that sets up the paradox of the entire Planet of the Apes chronology.
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7/10
A new tone for the series
perfectbond24 June 2003
No, this film is not as awe-inspiring as the original but it still maintains the viewer's interest despite the scaled down approach which was due to budget constraints. For much of the film the there is a humorous tone. Good performances were turned in by familiar faces (Braeden, Montalban, Mineo). The story, despite some holes, was quite riveting. I'm looking forward to the fourth installment. The sense of adventure and exploration (this time by the apes) and the continued presentation of parallels between this fictional world and our world still make for worthwhile viewing. 7/10.
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one of the best films of the series
GURNEYRAMPART24 April 2003
ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES is a tale set in the madness of a paranoid 1970's in which zira and cornelius must fight for their lives and the life of their unborn baby. Using taylors ship zira and cornelius time warp to 1970's earth and are embraced by mankind. They soon become the target of a government think tank who fears their unborn child. In a era that listened to HAL LINDSEY scream the anti christ is coming this film taps into that paranoid vein with the "john birchish" character of Hessline who fears ziras baby. The film deals with the two apes dealing with 20th century earth and attempting to survive the scrutiny of the government. One of the best and most original films in the series the story told in this film makes it stand out. A fine film.
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8/10
Really amazing and fantastic!!
joshuadrake-3948030 April 2015
Despite a conclusion showing the planet's destruction, 20th Century Fox requested another sequel, turning the films into a franchise.

Arthur P. Jacobs recruited Paul Dehn to a new script with a brief telegram: "Apes exist. Sequel required." Dehn immediately started work on what became the third film titled Escape from the Planet of the Apes. The film would once again change directors, Don Taylor was hired to direct and had a greatly diminished budget of $2.5 million dollars, which required a tight production schedule.

In the film, Zira and Cornelius are initially accepted by American society, but human fears that their child will bring about the destruction they predict to lead to their dates.

Compared to it's predecessors, Escape dwelt more heavily on themes of racial conflict, which became a primary focus through the rest of the series. The film opened on May 21, 1971, less than a year after the previous film and was well received by critics. It also performed really well at the box office, though not as strongly as the first two. Fox ordered a third sequel.

The story is just great, especially after the second film's poor story and the writer did a great job with creating this sequel's story. The direction and action is just amazing and cool. The film is really quick and amazing, but I just ran along with it.

The acting is just amazing in this one and the actors are just amazing. Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall are good in there roles. Natalie Trundy is really good and is fantastic in her role. Bradford Dillman, Ricardo Montalban and Eric Braeden are really good in their new roles and they are fantastic and amazing.

Overall, ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET of the APES is really amazing and fantastic and it is one movie that definitely makes up for the previous film.

8/10.
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4/10
So-so
plan9-149-95981425 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Like many fans of the original Apes franchise, I was expecting a lot more after the apocalyptic Beneath. This one is a comedown; it would have made a decent 60 or 70 min TV movie, but has neither the scope nor the impending sense of doom that pervades the first two.

The teaser opening, with Cornelius, Zira and Milo returning to preset day Earth is captivating. But it's completely undeveloped, and what should have been the underpinning for the story becomes a throwaway hook. The big questions raised but unanswered are: how did they recover Taylor's ship, repair and learn to fly it? Are they here as prophets? What else could they have brought with them? Instead we get a disposable "genius" character, Milo, who's quickly strangled by a zoo gorilla.

The rest plays like a Quinn-Martin crime drama. Despite solid performances, the hyperbolic threat of we-must-kill-them-to-save-Mankind is painfully simplistic.

Escape is for completists only, and can easily be skipped to the next, and far better follow-up, Conquest.
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6/10
Three monkeys travel back in time to present day from the ape dominated planet
ma-cortes3 November 2010
Nice and entertaining science-fiction movie with a first rate Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter as likable chimpanzees and special intervention of Ricardo Montalban as kindly circus owner who's hidden them from the humans for time . This known story is the third and one of the best of primates sequels ; it starts when through the same time warp , three survivors jumped aside in the last moment by means of a spacial craft from incinerated planet that blew up in the final of ¨Beneath of planet of apes¨ and crash on Earth . There appear three simians Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) , Zira (Kim Hunter ) and Milo (Sal Mineo ). They charm the world and turn mass media celebrities . However , the presidential (William Windom) adviser (Eric Braeden )suspects their dark origin and learn that can be a threat on the downfall of mankind and decides kill them . Later on , at L.A.C. they become the subjects of a relentless pursuit by the CIA and being helped by two doctors (Bradford Dillman and Natalie Trundy who married Arthur P Jacobs and starred various sequels as Zira) .

This is a good sci-fi flick plenty of comedy , suspense, metaphysical significance with thoughtful reflexion about origin of human being and nuclear catastrophe , though also packs action, adventures, intrigue and entertainment. In spite of time and being mostly an amusing follow-up of the former movies , energy remains still and turns out to be an enjoyable sequel full of fantasy and suspense , though with a unsettling and dramatic final . Exciting , clever writing credits by Paul Dehn , though some elements of the screenplay strain credibility to the limit , the imaginative plot is based upon characters created by Pierre Boulle . One of the important attributes of this work are the magnificent acting from the main cast and supporting , Roddy McDowall's distinctive features prove to be recognizable even under marvelous simian make-up . The performers , particularly Kim Hunter who provides the sturdy central pivot the tale surely needs , are pretty good , the superb characters are well drawn and in spite of makeup they are still oddly convincing . Glimmer and luminous cinematography by Joseph Biroc A.S.C who made such a fine job in several films . Phenomenal, creative make-up by John Chambers ,as always , he is a first-rate expert, such as proved in 'Blade runner, Ssss, Island of Dr Moreau' among others . Sensational musical score by top-notch Jerry Goldsmith who composed the classic original score . The picture is well produced by Frank Capra Jr and usual Arthur P. Jacobs , producer of whole saga, and well directed by Don Taylor , using a great visual sense.

It's followed by three inferior sequels that get worse and the impact from original film has perhaps been lessened by these followings as 'Conquest of planet of apes'(72, J. Lee Thompson), in which the Apes turn the tables on the Earth population and Roddy McDowall plays the son of the role he first created ; 'Battle for the planet of apes'(73, J.Lee Thompson) and a TV series , repeating Roddy McDowall again on hand as leader to sustain our anticipation and interest.
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8/10
Really amazing and fantastic!!
joshuadrake-9127515 September 2015
Despite a conclusion showing the planet's destruction, 20th Century Fox requested another sequel, turning the films into a franchise.

Arthur P. Jacobs recruited Paul Dehn to a new script with a brief telegram: "Apes exist. Sequel required." Dehn immediately started work on what became the third film titled Escape from the Planet of the Apes. The film would once again change directors, Don Taylor was hired to direct and had a greatly diminished budget of $2.5 million dollars, which required a tight production schedule.

In the film, Zira and Cornelius are initially accepted by American society, but human fears that their child will bring about the destruction they predict to lead to their dates.

Compared to it's predecessors, Escape dwelt more heavily on themes of racial conflict, which became a primary focus through the rest of the series. The film opened on May 21, 1971, less than a year after the previous film and was well received by critics. It also performed really well at the box office, though not as strongly as the first two. Fox ordered a third sequel.

The story is just great, especially after the second film's poor story and the writer did a great job with creating this sequel's story. The direction and action is just amazing and cool. The film is really quick and amazing, but I just ran along with it.

The acting is just amazing in this one and the actors are just amazing. Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall are good in there roles. Natalie Trundy is really good and is fantastic in her role. Bradford Dillman, Ricardo Montalban and Eric Braeden are really good in their new roles and they are fantastic and amazing.

Overall, ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET of the APES is really amazing and fantastic and it is one movie that definitely makes up for the previous film.

8/10.
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7/10
my 2nd favourite in the McDowell ape films
veryape-887-9139054 January 2014
This is the 3rd chapter in the McDowell ape films this 1971 film stars Roddy McDowell, Kim Hunter & Bradford Dillman. Roddy McDowell & Kim Hunter continue their roles as Cornelius and Zira in this film they travel to present day at first they are feared and imprisoned but at their court hearing they become sensations where they are taken from the zoo to a 5 star hotel, they are wined and dined and treated like celebrities until Zira falls pregnant then they have to fight for their lives but they have the help of Dillman and his colleague Natalie Trundy. A good entry to the ape saga much better then the 2nd one beneath the planet of the apes but for me the stand-out in the series is the 1968 classic Planet of the apes.

***/*****
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10/10
A wonderful sequel!
Escape from the Planet of the Apes is a wonderful sequel, to two great movies, Planet of the Apes, and Beneath the Planet of the Apes!

Most sequels, by their 2nd one, is usually really lame, and just plain bad, but not this one, nor any of the Planet of the Apes sequels! It's a must see movie, for the whole family!

Roddy McDowall, and Kim Hunter return in this movie, as the two apes, Cornelius and Zira, as they escape to 1973. Although, Escape from the Planet of the Apes has a very sad ending, it's a really good one, as real life is not all "fairy tale endings"

You've gotta see this movie, along with the two before it, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and Planet of the Apes, and the two after it, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes.
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6/10
Witty but slow
Rammstein-231 July 2001
The third APES movie is better than the second (almost anything would be), but lags behind the first one a great deal, to nobody's surprise. It is witty but painfully slow - the escape of Cornelius and Dr. Zira from the doomed future Earth lands them right smack in the 70's, where they are greeted with surprise and fear. The films borders on ridiculous at some points, but some echoes from the 1980 "Elephant Man" by David Lynch can be detected, suggesting Mr Lynch took a good look at this one before the making of that fantastic movie.

Slowly the film degenerates and just seems to end without any adequate point having been made, and as it gets slower and slower towards the end, it gets hard to understand the need for making it. But the initial surprise and the human reactions are still enjoyable.
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10/10
Third time's the charmer...
poe4263 June 2002
Yet another superb entry in the series (the last, in fact). This time around, the focus is entirely on character, and we come to know and love the leads. We are willingly swept along by the storytellers and, in the end, our sneaking suspicions are confirmed in poignant fashion. As far as I'm concerned, there's nary a misstep along the way. Even the "bad guy" is a multi-faceted character (who, ironically, just happens to be RIGHT). This one has it all, despite being "earthbound." One from the heart.
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6/10
Planet Of The Humans
sddavis6317 January 2011
I quite enjoyed the first two instalments of the "Ape" series. Both were interesting movies (the first was definitely better) that offered some reflections on human nature as seen through the eyes of the apes. Generally speaking, this third instalment of the series continues to do that - and, as in the first two - humanity doesn't come off looking particularly good. In and of itself, standing alone, this isn't a bad movie. Its basic problem is its lack of originality (although the very fact that it created a sequel to "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" - whose ending did look rather final - counts for something, I suppose.) Still, in many ways this is the mirror image of the first movie. In that, of course, three human astronauts land on a future earth rules by apes. Here, three "ape-onauts" (as they're referred to) land on a past earth ruled by humans - namely, our own (well, at least the world of 1973.) A lot of this is very similar to the original. Cornelius (Roddy McDowell, who returns in the role after missing "Beneath") and Zira (Kim Hunter) essentially take on the roles of the human astronauts in "Planet" while Drs. Dixon (Bradford Dillman) and Branton (Natalie Trundy) are the Cornelius and Zira of this society, sympathetic to the apes and wanting them to survive, while Dr. Hasslein (Eric Braeden) is the personification of the evil human who wants to kill these intelligent apes (just as most of the apes wanted to kill the intelligent humans of the original.) So, aside from the ingenious way of resurrecting a series that you would have expected to be finished, originality was somewhat lacking. There are a few twists. Overall, human society seemed generally kinder to the apes than ape society was to the humans, and it's somewhat humorous to watch as at first Cornelius and Zira are feted as celebrities in Los Angeles. Overall, though, this really does have the feel of the original in reverse.

It's not a bad story. It's a bit far-fetched to believe that the apes could have not only raised Taylor's spaceship from the original and learned to launch and pilot it, given that in the first two movies (which seemed to take place over a relatively short span of time) the ape society hadn't even invented the internal combustion engine. Yes, that's kind of explained by Cornelius' assertion that Dr. Milo (who accompanied he and Zira on this journey) is a genius well ahead of his time. Obviously! Still, that bit of far-fetchedness aside, this is a reasonable addition to the series, an imaginative way of restarting the series, and an obvious set-up at the end for what would become the fourth instalment in the series ("Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes.") It's just not particularly original, in that it's a rerun of the first with the roles reversed. But if you like the series, it's enjoyable enough. (6/10)
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8/10
Best "Apes" sequel of them all
thowen19881 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
After the 1968 "Planet of the Apes" movie, 4 sequels were made during the 1970s; "Escape from the Planet of the Apes", the third in the series, is, in my view, the best of the sequels.

Like any science fiction film, "Escape" is based on a huge flaw: The viewer must believe that the apes (who live in a primitive, non-technical society), were able to retrieve George Taylor's (Charlton Heston) spaceship from the ocean, repair it, and fly it via "time warp" two thousand years into the past (i.e., the same "time warp" that Taylor entered in the 1968 original film).

Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable science fiction film. Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter are brilliant as Cornelius and Zira. This film is essentially the flip side of the original 1968 film, although this time, the apes are caged, and the humans are in charge.

The magnitude of the level of paranoia of 1973 America is a little far fetched, to say the least. Wouldn't the U.S. authorities (i.e., politicians and scientists) want to discuss future events with scientists Cornelius (an archaeologist) and Zira (a psychologist)? In the first film, ape society is unaware that humans once ruled the earth and had the power of speech. However, in "Escape from the Planet of the Apes", Cornelius and Zira explain how apes became the pets and then the servants of mankind (after a virus killed off all cats and dogs). Once again, this is a huge inconsistency.

"Escape from the Planet of the Apes" is an enjoyable chapter in the Apes movies. When I first saw this film as a child in the 1970s, I did not notice the aforementioned flaws, of course. Turn off your brain, sit back, relax, and enjoy this segment of the apes series.
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9/10
A Masterpiece in character driven Sci-Fi
lordzedd-314 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I must applaud the Planet Of The Apes series, all of them are very character driven and have well rounded and likable characters and this is no exception. The story works, the characters are great. It's amazing how they were able to continue the series, trust me, see the second planet of the apes movie and you'll learn how amazing. Now for the bad part, without giving anything away, the climax of the film was very, very sad and the ends justifies the means is no answer. What the villain does wrong is not trying to chance history, is how he does it. Making peace is more of an answer, it's war mongers that will destroy this world bring about the Planet Of The Apes, not these gentle strangers from tomorrow. Now that I said that I must recommned this movie to all of the people who liked the Tim Burton remake, see the classic Planet and see how much Tim screwed it up. 9 STARS.
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8/10
Still enjoyed it as much as when I was eight years old
MarkDcomic28 June 2006
This was the first Planet of the Apes movie I saw in the theater and I enjoyed watching it over again. It reminded me of other films of the period that reflected the politics of the seventies, like Billy Jack. You kind of have to understand films like this in context to what was going on in the world at the time. There is that message of individualism that was so prevalent then, right after the Vietnam war. There was also that sort of Orwellian feeling that those who are different will be persecuted. The real revelation as an adult though, was how good Kim Hunter is. Her mastery of the movement and the heavy make up is reminiscent of the great physical theatrical schools of the world, Kabuki, Balinese mask work, or Lecoq. No other actor really played through the ape make up as well as Hunter, who seemed to realize that playing through the eyes and with the body was mandatory, as the mouths on those ape prosthetics, really don't move. This is definitely the best of the sequels.
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6/10
The "boullest" of all these four not-so-glorious sequels.
dbdumonteil1 August 2001
The third -and unexpected,considering the ending of the second part-sequel of the apes saga is probably the best of the four, thanks to Kim Hunter's and Roddy McDowall's characters Zira and Cornelius,who play a prominent part here. Here ,Pierre Boulle is more present than in "beneath the planet..":the reason can be found ,I think, in the Baby,the menace for the human race. In Pierre Boulle's book,Ulysse Mérou(Taylor) and Nova have a baby,and that's why they cannot continue to live peacefully with the simian race;had Cornelius and Zira not intervened,the trio would have been slain ruthlessly.Thanks to them,they can escape from the planet and go back to earth where they.... (No,I won't tell you anything more,please,read the book!) Here,it's the same situation ,a monkey baby instead of a human one.And the humans act like the monkeys in the book.There's a good original idea in the screenplay :the using of a circus as a place to hide .Taylor should have thought(should think!) of this when he was (or is!)in the apes society.
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5/10
The Good, The Bad & The Monkey!
Squrpleboy15 October 2002
Warning: Spoilers
*SPOILERS*

Ok, this one is for Planet of the Apes diehards only! The third installment in the declining 5-part series decidedly steepens the downward slope. Rife with plot-holes and cheesy acting & dialogue, "Escape From..." both viscerates all previous continuity and series logic, while laying the ground-work for those that will (unfortunately) follow.

Ignoring the fact that Taylor (Charlton Heston) & crew crashed their spaceship and completely sunk it in a unknown body of water in the first film, and the fact that the apes have NO knowledge of flight OR technology whatsoever in their future civilization, somehow, Cornelius, Zira & new buddy (and scientific genius), Dr. Milo resurrect said craft and make it back to "present day" Earth (aka, 1970's Los Angeles).

Despite the fact that Dr. Milo bites the dust like a Star Trek ensign shortly after arrival, they then proceed to become media darlings and international celebrities, wining, dining, shopping for swank clothes; Cornelius cracking wise like he's auditioning at a comedy club, while Zira becomes an instant alcoholic; all the while revealing more of their secrets and supplying an incredible (if not impossible to have been discovered) over-view of Human & Ape history that was completely non-existent in the previous two films!

Throw in a baby that will spell the end of Mankind, and the evil, German doctor out to destroy them all, and you are set to go!

What is important with this film in the series is that it sets up and tries to explain what will follow in the next two films (whether that was a conscious decision or not). *{And, maybe even more importantly, it utilizes a plotline that would be "re-used" some 20 some years later in the TERMINATOR series; beings from the future come back to our present and deliver the future's savior in the form of a child.}

Falling somewhere between silly and mediocre, with Roddy McDowell's "Cornelius" and Kim Hunter's "Zira" just reaching the cusp of irritating, and the look and feel (and plot-line!) of a episode of "The Monkees", ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES is at best a cautioned watch and at worst a Sunday afternoon settle- for. Eric Braeden (best known as Victor Newman of The Young & The Restless soap opera fame), as Dr. Otto Hasslein is the high point of this film and worth watching for his performance alone.

5/10. Grab a banana and (try to) enjoy!
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4/10
Escape From The Planet Of The Apes is by no means a terrible film
ArthurHeath4 August 2001
Escape From The Planet Of The Apes is by no means a terrible film.

Their world on the verge of destruction, Dr.'s Zyra, Milo, and Cornelius escape into the heavens.... only to find themselves thrown back into time. The arrive on Earth circa 1970.

It's story was designed by necessity. There simply wasn't the money to pay for all the appliances necessary for a larger Ape cast. Two was the perfect number. And so, Zyra and Cornelius narrowly escape the destruction of the future to return to Taylor's world.

Ricardo Montalban plays a delicious bit part. Sal Mineo dons the appliances to become the ill-fated Dr. Milo.

The only TERRIBLE part of the film was the the "gorilla" in the zoo infirmary. Don't even get me started.

The ship the three scientists pilot back to our present day earth still stands up to the tests imposed by time. It still looks realistic, makes sense. It still seems futuristic and, in this writer's humble opinion, seems much more believable than the similar plot device in Tim Burton's new Planet of the Apes film.

I know that I am removed from the climate this film was originally released into. I realize this. But still it seems to me that they overuse the point of Zyra's feminine independence. It would seem they do so at the cost of Cornelius, leaving not much but set dressing.

This is not a bad film. It is also not a wonderful film. And for it's time I think it is certainly an achievement to be proud of.

It could have been a better film. But looking back it is easy to see how so many things /could/ have or /should/ have been better.

It has a good ending. That I will give it for sure.

Most of the actors never seem to deliver lines with any sort of character. Montalban, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, and William Windom obviously excluded from that previous statement.

Eric Braedon's performance was abysmal, though I did appreciate the way his character was written to doubt himself and the validity of his choices. "By doing this am I an instrument of God or am I working against his great plan?" and so forth.

Certainly not a film for everyone. Certainly not a film I will see again and again and again. But not a terrible film. Worthy of it's rerelease. And hopefully warranting some kind of adaptation by reclusive genius Tim Burton.
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6/10
a "hard to imagine HOW they came up with a sequel" sequel
MartinHafer11 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
As fans of the series know, the Earth got blowed up good at the end of the second movie. So, you might ask, how did they make a sequel? Hmm, well they did something unique in film history--the sequel was also a prequel!! Here's how they did it: At the end of the last movie the Earth blew up, but somehow our favorite apes, Cornelius (Roddy McDowell) and Zira (Kim Hunter) both escaped the explosion in a space ship and traveled back in time to 20th century Earth!!! Now this was no small feat, as the apes in the previous movies had progressed up to perhaps the 18th century in technology and no others possessed a space ship, either! Well, this gaping plot hole is one of the reasons this movie only gets a 6. The other is that this movie, for the first half of it, has absolutely no controversy or excitement. If you like seeing the two apes being wined and dined and interviewed on TV, then this movie is for you--but zilch as far as controversy goes.

However, later, under the influence of a truth serum, Zira tells the humans that they are from Earth in the future and that humans are either treated as slaves or killed! Well, the narrow-minded humans want no part of that and decide to sterilize the apes to prevent this horrible future. The problem is that Zira is already pregnant (never mind that it seems hardly likely that Roddy McDowell could be the father) and they don't want their baby killed! I'm not sure why no one thought about letting the child be born and then sterilizing the three--this could have worked out and prevented a fourth movie.

Well, our two beloved apes don't want to be sterilized or lose their baby, so they escape. While in hiding, Zira has the baby and when the human thugs catch up to them, they are killed--but not before a DIFFERENT baby is substituted for theirs--meaning that they actually planned on making a sequel to this movie.

Decent story writing (though with HUGE plot holes), good acting and a fun script make this a worthwhile film, but certainly weaker than movies number 1, 2 and 4.
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