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I enjoyed both of these ape films,but I gotta go with Conquest.
Escape is charming, but Conquest manages to ratchet up the tension and may actually be the best in the series.
Planet of the Ape-athon part 4: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Conquest is pretty damn good. Of all the PotA films I've seen so far, this is the probably the darkest, but it's also one of the best. The social commentary is excellent as usual, and the performances are also great, in some cases even better than in the other films (Roddy McDowall). Like Escape, there's little to complain here, except that it simply isn't as good as the original (or Rise). But it is closer in quality than Escape is, though. I did like Escape, but Conquest had the much darker tone (which I liked), it had the better performances and it was a little more entertaining. I'm going with Conquest, but both are worth checking out (and Beneath too, if only for those ridiculous last 40 minutes).
For basically the same reasons MysticSpoon provided, I prefer Conquest of the Planet of the Apes in this matchup. That dark, angry tone really gives the movie that little something extra.
I just rewatched the whole original Planet of the Apes series in preparation for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes this weekend. I always remember Escape being the best of the sequels, but after rewatching them all after a few years away from the series, I found myself most engaged in Conquest. Roddy McDowall's performance is amazing!
I just saw the UNRATED version of Conquest, after not seeing the original sequels for nearly 20 years, and I was little bit floored. I had no idea how much the ending of Conquest was neutered for theaters. The Unrated is so much better, and highly recommended. Anyway, I can now say definitively (having watched them all back to back) that these are the best of the original four sequels. McDowell is amazing in both films, particularly Conquest, where he has many fewer lines and has to communicate so much more through his eyes and body language. I still lean towards Escape, which marries an incredibly dark ending with a charming first half, but this is a lot closer than it ever was for me when I first saw these films.
I don't like either of these, to be honest. Escape is a dull role reversal of the original and Conquest is one of the worst films I have ever seen in my life. Escape wins because of its ending.
"Conquest is one of the worst films I have ever seen in my life". Whaaaaaaaaaaaat.
I rewatch both of these in the last few days and yes: Conquest is one of the worst films I have ever seen. No character development, idiotic sequences, dull first half, rushed second half and full of exposition. It's even the first film where the makeup and production look cheap! I really liked Escape the second time! There's so much creativity to it and I really did care the characters this time around! It does have flaws but it's still tensed at the right times and laid back at the right times. It's a film that knows what it is unlike Conquest which is unevenly paced and rather pretentious!