Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Set at some point between our time and 1,000 years in the future when Charlton Heston is due to land, this follows the ape uprising of Conquest, documenting the tensions between humans and humans in rubber ape masks as they attempt to live alongside each other in a post-apocalyptic world.

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Battle is wrong-footed from the start by not having clear power dynamic between the apes and humans. This is a questionable decision since the franchise’s main focus is exploring the relationship between humans and animals, and does this best when one is clearly dominant.

In Battle, following a disaster of some sort (actually following four of them – ha, ha), the humans’ technology is wiped out giving the apes the upper hand. But Ceasar, the closest thing this bleak franchise has to a hero, tries to live alongside the humans in peace, in spite of the wishes of some of his simian brothers.

While we’re told this is a post apocalyptic society, it looks like they filmed it in a park with neatly trimmed grass. There’s never much of a sense of a world being constructed, certainly not compared to the desolate wasteland of the original or the brutalist architecture of Battle.

When you remove the heavy sci-fi there’s not much to enjoy. The plot is unremarkable, the action centrepiece confusing and over-long and you’ll be left wondering what the point of it was. The best thing about it is that it offers the only ray of hope in an otherwise downbeat and depressing franchise, by suggesting the world isn’t on an inevitable path to total destruction. Unfortunately by the fifth instalment (in five years) it’s clear that the franchise is.

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