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J. Lee Thompson
Roddy McDowall, Don Murray, Natalie Trundy
Writing Credits:
Paul Dehn

An intelligent ape from the far future leads an Army of monkey servants in a revolt against their human masters.

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Monaural
French Dolby 2.0
Spanish Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 86 min. (Theatrical)
87 min. (Extended)
Price: $16.99
Release Date: 11/4/2008

• Both Theatrical and Unrated Cuts
• Isolated Score
• “Riots and Revolutions: Confronting the Times” Featurette
• “A Look Behind Planet of the Apes” Featurette
• “J. Lee Thompson Directs Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” Featurette
• Trailer
• Galleries


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes [Blu-Ray] (1972)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 1, 2017)

With 1972’s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the series continues with its fourth film. Set in the then-future of 1991, this one takes place about two decades after the events in Escape from the Planet of the Apes.

When that flick concluded, some humanoid chimps from the distant future ended up dead and the authorities thought they’d killed the couple’s similarly advanced infant. Instead, circus chief Armando (Ricardo Montalban) took the baby under his care and watched after him for the next couple of decades.

We meet up with Armando and an adult Caesar (Roddy McDowall) as we see how society changed over those years. As the apes told the humans in Escape, a virus killed all the cats and dogs so people took apes as pets.

The simians became more social and advanced, so by the movie’s 1991, apes act as menial workers. We see them wait tables, deliver messages, clean floors and other tasks of that sort.

For all that time, Armando passed off Caesar as any other ape since he knew that if the authorities found out that the offspring of Zira and Cornelius lived, they’d kill the beast. Unfortunately, when ape maltreatment angers Caesar, he reveals his ability to speak, and the government interrogates Armando. Governor Breck (Don Murray) notes how the servant apes have shown increasing signs of resentment and potential rebellion, so he frets that a more intelligent, talking beast could lead an all-out revolt.

And for good reason, since that’s what eventually happens. Of course, the humans bring this on themselves via their poor treatment of the apes, but the people doesn’t see this.

Caesar enters the general simian society at Armando’s order; he pretends to be newly-arrived and goes through basic training. There he sees abuse first-hand before he decides to do something about it. The movie follows the battle between apes and humans as Caesar leads a burgeoning revolt.

Here’s the main problem with Conquest: its basic premise makes zero sense. In Escape, the humans learned why apes eventually took over the Earth. Zira and Cornelius told them about the plague that killed household pets, how apes gained that role and how the simians evolved from there.

Despite all that knowledge, the authorities let it happen anyway! They fret about how the presence of one of the talking apes will doom humanity but don’t concern themselves with the path that they know will ultimately allow the simians to prosper. Apparently they enact minor precautions via a fascist police force that ensures the apes don’t spend much time with each other, but they totally ignore the basic genesis of simian evolution.

Am I the only one who thinks this seems idiotic? Even if I ignore to stupidity of the humans, Conquest proves unsatisfying due to its heavy-handed moralizing.

Ever since the original flick, each Apes movie opted for some obvious social points. Conquest takes that to an extreme with its glaring comparisons of the apes to African slaves in early America. The movie examines the simians in exactly the same way and doesn’t leave much room for interpretation.

This is probably the least subtle of the first four Apes films, and I don’t see that as a good thing. The film beats us over the head with its ideas and fails to allow us to think for ourselves.

What could have been an interesting exploration of the subject turns ponderous and pedantic. The story feels like little more than foreplay to introduce an excessively long and not very interesting climax in which apes battles men.

I like that we get to watch the evolution of the simians described in Escape but I don’t think Conquest proves satisfying in other ways. It lacks the humor and flair of its better predecessors and feels like a meager idea stretched too thin. All of this proves too ridiculous to succeed.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, this was a pleasing presentation.

Sharpness was usually very good. I noticed some light edge haloes and a few wide shots looked a bit soft, but those weren’t a major issue. Instead, the majority of the flick was tight and accurate. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and print flaws weren’t a factor in this clean image.

Conquest presented a pretty natural palette and looked consistently fine. The colors appeared bright and lively throughout the film.

Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows were usually fine; a few shots could be a bit opaque, but most of the film exhibited good clarity. Despite a few mild issues, this was a mostly positive image.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, it also was satisfying though not quite as pleasing as its predecessors. My main problem connected to the scope of the soundfield.

Music played too prominent a role, as the score tended to pop up awfully loudly in the rear speakers. This didn’t appear logical or natural, and it made the music less appealing.

Otherwise, the soundfield was perfectly decent for a movie of this one’s era. Effects showed moderate spread to the sides and occasionally showed up in the surrounds. These added a bit of dimensionality to the proceedings, though the mix seemed to use effects less actively than in the past.

Audio quality was fine for an older flick. Speech seemed natural and concise, and effects were accurate as well. Those elements showed reasonable depth and precision.

Music may have been too prominent, but the score sounded good, as those aspects were pretty robust. Overall, the audio worked well.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD from 2006? Audio was a little better developed, as I thought the soundfield showed nicer balance. Visuals seemed tighter and cleaner as well. The old DVD was good, but the Blu-ray provided improvements.

While the DVD included virtually no extras, the Blu-ray provides a few components. Of most interest to fans, the disc boasts both the film’s theatrical version (1:26:41) and an unrated cut (1:27:22).

The main difference comes from the two endings, as the theatrical one went kinder ‘n’ gentler to avoid an “R” rating. The unrated version opts for a more brutal, dark finale – and because it’s what the filmmakers intended, it’s probably the better choice.

Though we get no commentary, we do find an isolated score. This provides Tom Scott’s work in all its DTS-HD MA 5.1 glory. Fans will enjoy this bonus.

A featurette called Riots and Revolutions: Confronting the Times runs 20 minutes, 42 seconds and provides notes from Planet of the Apes Revisited author Joe Russo, Planet of the Apes As American Myth: Race, Politics and Popular Culture author Eric Greene, UCLA Sociology Professor Darnell Hunt, Apes collector/actor Brian Peck, Roddy McDowall’s friends Tom Lowell and Angela Lansbury, 20th Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History author Aubrey Solomon, makeup and actor Don Murray.

The show looks at the film’s place in the series as well as story/character elements, its social relevance, budgetary restrictions, cast and performances, sets and locations, filmmaking styles, editorial choices and rating issues. This offers a good encapsulation of various subjects and ties them together well.

Two period featurettes follow. We find J. Lee Thompson Directs Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1:11) and A Look Behind Planet of the Apes (13:42). The former simply shows a little footage from the set; it’s slight but moderately interesting.

The latter gives us a 1972 retrospective that covers all the Apes flicks up to that point. It’s essentially promotional, but it includes a few useful comments from various participants.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find some Galleries. We locate “Future News” (three screens), “Interactive Pressbook” (8), “Advertising” (3), “Lobby Cards” (9) and “Behind the Scenes” (20). All are good, as they show a lot of interesting promotional material. The first twoalso let you take close-up views of text materials, which works well.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes meanders and exists as little more than an excuse for its big end battle. It lacks the charm and insight of the better Apes efforts. The Blu-ray presents good picture and sound along with a smattering of decent supplements. Though not a great movie, at least the Blu-ray presents it well.

To rate this film please visit the DVD review of CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main