April 2nd, 2008

BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (1973) **

The monkey business continues in this fifth and final installment of the original Planet of the Apes movies.  In the opening scene, The Lawgiver (John Huston) gives us a rundown of what happened in the previous entries which utilizes a lot of cost cutting flashbacks.  Once the audience is up to speed, The Lawgiver tells us what happened after the events of the last film.  Now even though the humans are considered inferior to the apes, they still live alongside the apes in harmony.  Except whenever Claude Atkins’ monkey suit gets too hot for him and he starts trashing the place that is.  The ape Caesar (again played by Roddy McDowall) rules over both man and simian and when he learns that videotape footage of his ancestors Cornelius and Zira exists in the Forbidden City, he enlists a couple of his buddies to accompany him to find it.  Unfortunately the city is inhabited by ancestors of the mutants from Beneath… who start a war with the monkeys.  Ape relations aren’t improved much when Atkins breaks “Ape Law” and murders Caesar’s son.  In the end, the mutants are defeated and Caesar proclaims equal rights for apes and humans. 

 

I’m not sure how this ties in with the other flicks in the series.  Even though it establishes the subterranean mutants of the second film, this one leaves a lot to be desired in the continuity department.  I mean the last film ended with Caesar coming to overpower the humans and the first film began with humans already enslaved by the apes.  This one is supposed to take place in between those films, but it still leaves a pretty big time gap full of unexplained questions, the biggest being how did humans devolve from being the apes’ intellectual equals to being speechless slaves?  Also, we never even get to see the explosion that left the Statue of Liberty in ruins.  How can you make a movie that’s supposed to bridge the gap between the films then go ahead and deny Apes fans the pleasure of seeing how Lady Liberty got blown up?     

 

The lackluster shortcomings of the plot, make-up effects and action (all victims of a greatly reduced budget) are painfully evident, but like all the films in the series, it has it’s moments.  I mean Jesus; some of the ape casting is downright hilarious.  Seeing John Huston, Claude Atkins and Paul Williams in ape make-up alone almost makes this flick worthwhile.  Besides, any movie featuring this many monkeys toting semi-automatic machine guns can’t be all bad.  (Talk about gorilla warfare!)  Austin (Assault on Precinct 13) Stoker co-stars as the human hero and look fast for director John Landis in a small part.

 

The next stop for the sagging franchise was the lame television show. 

CHEEZY FANTASY TRAILERS (2006) ***

 

When I think of the term “fantasy” I think of stuff like wizards and shit.  There’s about two or three trailers here that I’d call “fantasy” oriented, but most of the movie trailers featured in this collection fall squarely into the Sci-Fi category.  I guess Cheezy had already released a collection of “Sci-Fi” trailers and didn’t want to flood the market so they labeled this thing as “fantasy”.  Having said that there’s a lot of great trailers here.  Some were recycled from Cheezy’s other collections, but they come so fast and furious, you probably won’t care too much. 

 

The trailers are more or less split evenly.  The first half covers mostly nothing but giant monster movies such as King Kong vs. Godzilla (there are two different versions), Konga, Gorgo, Return of the Fly (“The Thriller Chiller That Will Really BUG You!”), The Giant Behemoth, Godzilla King of the Monsters (which is shown twice for some reason), The Valley of Gwangi, Attack of the Crab Monsters, The Abominable Snowman, Them, The Cyclops, Valley of the Dragons, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Rodan, Mysterious Island, Monster from Green Hell, and The Monster That Challenged the World.  The second half is solely comprised of sword and sandal epics (most of which star Steve Reeves) including The Giant of Marathon, The Slave, Samson and Delilah, The Last Days of Pompeii, The Three Stooges Meet Hercules, Mighty Ursus, The Secret Seven, Goliath, Gold for the Caesars, Sign of the Gladiator (“Pagan in it’s pleasures!”), Atlantis the Lost Continent, Captain Sindbad (not my spelling mistake), Fury of the Pagans, Jason and the Argonauts, and Samson. 

 

Along the way we also get trailers for creature features like The Werewolf vs. The Vampire Women (“This is Satan’s Favorite Mistress!”), Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, and Creature of the Black Lagoon as well as Sci-Fi flicks such as The Thing from Another World, The Astounding She-Monster (“Here is a power that frightens the deer of the forest!”), and Forbidden Planet tossed in for variety’s sake.  There’s also a lot of trailers for movies that would later turn up on Mystery Science Theater such as  The Giant Gila Monster, The Mole People, Hercules, Hercules and the Captive Women, and Sword and the Dragon (“106,000 actors!  The largest cast ever in a motion picture!”). 

 

Most of the trailers are in good shape, but a lot of the toga-fest trailers are pretty jumpy.  While this isn’t Cheezy’s best collection of trailers (there are far too many sword and sandal trailers for my liking), it’s still another solid installment in their trailer compilation line and it’s definitely worth a look for all you movie trailer enthusiasts out there.