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Reviewed October 2nd, 2000 by Chuck Arrington


In what has to be the darkest of the Apes films, Cornelius, (Roddy McDowell) Zira (Kim Hunter) and Dr. Milo (Sal Mineo) travel back in time to Earth’s past and find the tables quite turned. In Earth’s past humans were in charge and the look on their faces when the Apes removed their space suits/helmets was priceless.

Unable to talk because apes of this period could not, the three resolve themselves to finding other ways to communicate. This proves difficult as they are locked away in a zoo and fed on a regimen of bananas and oranges. For the record, Zira loathes bananas! Nothing could be more degrading than to be subject to the same experiments, they have conducted on humans for years!

In a freak accident, Dr. Milo is murdered in his cage and Zira and Cornelius are left to fend for themselves. Unable to brook the abuse any longer Zira bursts forth in speech, much to the shock and dismay of the collected scientific and political authority. Obviously, incapable of concealing their secret any longer, the two explain where they come from and do everything they cannot to let on that they experimented on humans, much less, the Earth of the future will be destroyed by conflict between Ape and Man!

Because of their speech and great intelligence, the two are treated as celebrities and wined and dined at all the finest restaurants and hotels.

Then, it is learned that Zira is pregnant and in a moment of drunken speech, Zira spills the beans about what really happens in Earth’s future. Unwilling to allow Earth’s future to be destroyed or ruled by Apes, zealous agents of the government set out to first abort Zira’s pregnancy and secondly, sterilize the both of them in an attempt to stave off the particular future time line.

Word of this gets to Cornelius and he must do all that he can to protect both his wife and unborn child. Escape from the Plane of the Apes is an often funny but ultimately sad look at man’s all consuming fear of the unknown.

Again, as in all the films, the audio has been retooled to a very nicely produced 5.1 platform. The center is crystalline and the dialogue is very well separated. The balance of the theater, fronts/rears/sub all get put too good use throughout the whole of the film. The LFE is not earth shattering or blistering in the least but it does a great job in providing some much needed punch and at just the right moment!

Here again, the video is almost perfect. The widescreen presentation is very clean and shows no signs of chroma noise or pixelation. There were some areas were the print was not as sharp as I would have liked it however, they really were far and few between. The colors were rich and well saturated. There was no bleeding that I could notice and the fleshtones appeared accurate.

The menus for this series are pretty neat. Each one is spun around the theme of the picture and each one is equally produced. The extras are all contained on the bonus sixth disc available only in the boxed set. As such, the only extras included in Escape From the Planet of the Apes are trailers for all the films and the Fox Interactive Planet of the Apes video game.

This entry is my least favorite in the series primarily because of the dark message portrayed in the film. Is it a good film, definitely, it’s just not one I like to watch over and over again. Escape From the Planet of the Apes is definitely worth a rental if not a purchase. Depending on how much you like the series this may or may not be your cup of tea. I have to admit however, that seeing Zira address a meeting of an affluent women’s club to discuss women’s issues is by itself, worth the price of admission.


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