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Film / Battle for the Planet of the Apes

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The sequel to Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and the last film in the original Planet of the Apes film series, released in 1973. It is set in the early 21st century, after a nuclear holocaust in 1991.

This sequel follows the ape leader Caesar (Roddy McDowall) 12 years after a global nuclear war has destroyed civilization. Living with his mate Lisa and their son Cornelius, Caesar creates a new society while trying to cultivate peace between the apes and remaining humans. Caesar is opposed by gorilla Aldo (Claude Akins), who wants to imprison the humans that freely roam Ape City while doing menial labor. To make matters worse, a group of human atomic bomb mutations are out to make life miserable for the peaceful ape tribe. The story is told primarily in flashback with the opening and closing taking place in the year 2670.

This film is likely the inspiration for the two films in the reboot franchise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes.

This movie contains examples of:

  • After the End: The apes are in charge because humanity somehow managed to nuke themselves after the events of Conquest.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Trope Namer. Cruelly subverted in the film by Aldo.
  • Ascended Extra: Kolp, who was one of Governor Breck's functionaries in the previous film, is promoted to being the Big Bad of this film.
  • As You Know: The film has a lot of Info Dumps delivered in this manner, in particular when Caesar discusses the death of his parents early in the film.
  • Beneath the Earth: The lair of the mutants, previously seen in the aptly-named Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Aldo and Kolp; the former wants to wipe out all humans, and the latter wants to wipe out all apes and any humans who have allied themselves with the apes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The apes and the non-mutant humans seem to be reconciled, but Caesar was forced to kill Aldo, violating the most important of his society's laws, because Aldo murdered Caesar's son. The future of ape-human relations is also left quite ambiguous.
  • Bookends: Begins and ends with the Lawgiver telling the story to ape and human children.
  • The Cameo: John Huston as The Lawgiver.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Discussed by Mendez.
    Mendez: Governor, somewhere along the line of history, this bloody chain reaction has got to stop! A destroys B. B destroys C. C destroys A and is destroyed by D who destroys E. Before anyone knows where they are, there won't be anyone left to know anything, anywhere!
  • Even Evil Has Standards: General Aldo's army of gorillas is very enthusiastic about locking up the humans like animals, and even cheer at Aldo's announcement that they will seize control and kill all the humans. But when Aldo continues to declare that after they kill the humans, they'll kill Caesar, all his soldiers abruptly fall silent and gape at him in horror: they might disagree with the other apes, but no ape has ever killed another, and it is their most sacred law.
  • Fantastic Racism: Humans are treated as second class citizens at best by the apes for most of the film.
  • Foreshadowing: Everything involving Mendez sets up what will eventually happen in Beneath the Planet of the Apes with regard to the mutants and doomsday weapon.
  • Failed Future Forecast: The movie was released in 1973, the same year Earth was supposed to be visited by two talking apes from the future according to the third movie.
  • General Ripper: Kolp and Aldo, the former of whom orders a nuclear strike on Ape City if all else fails, and the latter of whom slaughters the retreating attackers and tries to stage a rebellion against Caesar's rule.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Aldo's followers.
      Gorilla soldier: Aldo, you killed.
    • Caesar himself, at the end, once he realizes that his enslavement of the humans, benevolent though it may be, makes him no better than the same humans he led a revolution against in the previous film.
  • He Knows Too Much: Cornelius has the misfortune to be out late at night playing in the trees within earshot of Aldo's plotting to fatally overthrow Caesar.
  • Leave No Survivors: What happens to a small group of mutants that escaped Ape City after being ambushed by Aldo and his soldiers.
    Aldo: No prisoners! NO PRISONERS!
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Mandemus, possibly. His names sounds like the legal term mandamus, which involves a writ commanding somebody to perform a certain action. Appropriate, since his job in the film is acting as Caesar's conscience and guarding the Ape City armory.
    • Much like Dante Alighieri, Caesar is lead on a journey into the underworld by a guy named Virgil.
  • Novelization: Like the films before it, the film got a novelization via Marvel Comic.
  • Nuke 'em: Kolp's contingency plan. Which, considering that the weapon he orders his assistant to use happens to be the Alpha-Omega Bomb, would have had catastrophic results if carried out.
  • N-Word Privileges: An ape can say "no" to another ape, but a human may never say "no" to an ape. After Conquest, the word "no" is basically a psychological trigger for apes.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Virgil, who happens to be an expert on everything the plot requires him to be an expert on.
  • Papa Wolf: Caesar. Too late for anything but revenge, however.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Caesar's attempts to eschew the anti-human sentiment that is common among apes mostly come across as condescending and paternalistic. See What the Hell, Hero? below.
  • Re-Cut: The extended version included in the Legacy Collection improves the film considerably.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Discussed about Caesar visiting the forbidden city.
Aldo: Why were you there? To visit the city is forbidden.
Caesar: I know. I forbade it.
Aldo: Then why—?
Virgil: Aldo, if a King forbids his subjects to wear a crown, that doesn't mean he can't wear one himself.
  • Sour Supporter: Mendez is this to Kolp, and eventually manages to turn his supporters against him in his absence. Not that Kolp lives to see the results...
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: MacDonald's brother, MacDonald. It's clear that the franchise was trying to avert The Other Darrin when the original actor didn't want to come back.
  • Time Dilation: Discussed where it's wondered if human astronauts from before the apocalypse could travel through time in faster than light ships. A scenario is presented where a musician could do a broadcast in London, FTL travel to New York and listen to it live and then go back in time to cancel the performance if he didn't like it.
  • Token Good Teammate: Mendez to Kolp, again.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Governor Breck and the previous film's MacDonald aren't seen, with the former not being mentioned at all and the latter only getting very briefly referenced and replaced by his brother, presumably meaning they didn't survive The End of the World as We Know It.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: MacDonald and Abe call out Caesar at the end for not protecting humans as well as he should have.
    If we appear to be lacking in gratitude, Caesar, what have we to be grateful for?