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April 29, 2014

Movie Review: Empire of the Apes (2013)

Sick of all those well acted ape movies? Tired of seeing top of the line CGI? Fed up with fresh stories and writing? Then do I have the movie for you!

Empire of the Apes is basically THE biggest rip off of Planet of the Apes I’ve ever seen. Oh, excuse me. Homage. That’s code for “I couldn’t think of anything original so I just rewrote something I thought was bitchin”. What the fuck ever, dude.

The story, which is told in a flashback by a man about to be executed, is this. Space ship is transporting a cargo of female prisoners (read: three) to a distant plant where they have been sold to a species that only uses females for pleasure (is there any other use for them, besides making sandwiches?). But the women say, ‘oh, hell no’ and make their escape. Unfortunately, the short range pod they’ve stolen crashes on a nearby planet that is home to a species of talking apes. And by species I mean there are six of them.

The apes decide that the women will make great breeding stock to repopulate their species. Wait, what? But in order to determine which ape gets to breed with which girl, the ape leader, Korg, must bring back The Great Ape Games, i.e. really really bad fake WWE smack-downs. They will fight to determine who gets first pick.

And once they'd figured out the women were from off-planet, the apes must find a way to escape this world with them. Apparently, they’re stuck on this rock for reasons unknown (and who really cares) so when Zantor, the prisoner transport captain, tracks down the escapees, he and Korg strike a mutually beneficial deal. Unfortunately, they both plan to double cross each other.

SPOILER ALERT: Though the prisoners try to escape again only one gets away and the other two are taken back to the ship. Conveniently, a black hole opens up in the path from planet to transport ship just as the apes commit mutiny. Flash forward to the man at the beginning that’s about to be executed. Hey, it’s Zantor! Seems Korg has developed an ape society that has subjugated the human race. But no time for motivational speeches right now. My bitch, aka one of the female prisoners, is giving birth to my son!

Awkward Family Photos, simian edition.

Holy shitballs was this an awful movie. So much wrong with it I hardly know where to begin.

Costumes: ape race consists of guys running around in cheap gorilla masks. Some wear animal skins and rough clothing but a few are sporting Levi’s and trench coats. The transport crew looked a little better but the plastic on plastic helmet-to-gun clunking sounds just made me laugh.

F/X: I’m wondering if they used a Commodore 54 to create the CGI. Laser gun blasts, burning shuttles, orbiting space ship shots, landing shuttles - everything looked completely amateur. Even the crappy sci-fi flicks from the 50s did a better job. I swear the escape pod used a game console joystick for its navigational controls.

Sound: not sure if they redubbed the ape men while they wore their masks or they were miked inside their masks but it was difficult to understand their dialogue. The laser guns sounded like toys; three women traipsing through a meadow sounded like an army crunching through gravel and dry leaves; and the horn an ape blows to raise an alarm sounded like a full orchestra. Umno.

Where are we supposed to be looking, over here? There? What's happening?
Acting: I think you know. I can’t give you specifics on actors because the credits don’t list the character/actor line up. Just “The Prisoners” and the names of the three women. “The Apes” lists six guys. For characters, they all sucked but one of the prisoners, who had the cartoon voice and seemed to be the dumbest, kept saying words like “primitive” and “indigenous” and “recollection” which only made her sound more ridiculous. Which segues into

Dialogue: Korg to his fellow apes as they chase down the escaping females: “this way you Mary mothergrabbers!”. One of the prisoners to Korg when he tells them they’ll be treated better if they behave: “behave rhymes with slave!” Oh, you are such a hardass.

Teaser at the end: Next - Revolt of the Empire of the Apes. DEAR GODS PLEASE DON’T MAKE THAT MOVIE!

0 Hatchets (out of 5)

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