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Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

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Movies in the Me Decade very good at playing Nostradamus. Conquest, the penultimate entry in the five-film Planet of the Apes cycle, looks forward to the far-off year of 1991, when humans have replaced dogs (which have been killed off by an epidemic) with primates. Said chimps, gorillas, and orangutans are treated poorly — not only is their social status lower than a Chia Pet’s, but they have to wear stunningly ugly coveralls — until an intelligent ape from the future (Roddy McDowall) leads them in a revolt against mankind.

Surely you remember this? It was only five years ago.

Despite the potential for camp, Conquest‘s depiction of the future is as heavy-handed as its allegorical civil-rights plot. The far-flung action seems to take place in one large concrete office park, and the human characters are stick figures. In the end, there’s not much in this fictional 1991 as bizarre as anything from the real one: Pee-wee Herman, for example, or Clarence Thomas. C+

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