STARRING: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly

1968, 112 Minutes, Directed by: Franklin J Schaffner

Planet.jpg (11371 bytes)
Description: When Colonel George Taylor (the fabulous Charlton Heston) crash lands his spacecraft on what seems to be an unfamiliar planet, he is captured and held prisoner by a dominant race of hyperrational, articulate apes. However, the ape community is riven with internal dissention, centered in no small part on its policy toward humans, who, on this planet, are treated as mindless animals. Befriended and ultimately assisted by the more liberal simians, Taylor escapes--only to find a more terrifying obstacle confronting his return home.

(Warning: review contains major spoilers - do not read any further if you haven't seen the movie yet!)

Despite employing the most hallowed, and yet derided, visual icon in science fiction: that of the Statue of Liberty in the midst of a post-apocalyptic desert landscape, Planet of the Apes remains a modern science fiction classic. That's in the final scene when the astronaut played by Charlton Heston realizes that he isn't on an alien planet dominated by apes, but on earth after some unsaid cataclysmic event.

Obvious satire abound in this movie based on the novel Monkey Planet by Pierre Boulle (who also wrote Bridge on the River Kwai and Papillon). It was adapted for the screen by Rod Serling and blacklisted screenwriter Michael Wilson. A classic - whether you see it as pure entertainment or as something deeper. Pop-cultural socio-political analysis anyone?

Planet of the Apes was followed by four sequels and two television series (one was a weakly-rated live action series that ran two seasons and the second was an animated series), this film remains the best entry in the entire series.

The sequels are: Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and finally Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).

"A modern science fiction classic!"

Plans to remake the original movie have been around for ages. A big-screen remake of the original film was announced as long ago as in 1993 by 20th Century Fox. Back then it was to be co-produced by Oliver Stone and would star Arnold Schwarzenegger. This originally announced production was eventually abandoned, and at various points throughout a circuitous development process, the project was assigned to several directors including Phillip Noyce, Chris Columbus, Chuck Russell, Roland Emmerich, and Peter Jackson, the latter of whom had suggested an APES film to Fox in 1992.

James Cameron was briefly slated as a possible co-producer, and screenplays were written by Terry Hayes (The Road Warrior) and Sam Hamm (Batman), the latter in collaboration with Columbus. As of mid-1996 the project's future was still uncertain, although Fox studio president Bill Mechanic was quoted as saying "It won't get to the screen by the most linear path, but it's going to get made." Indeed.

It was finally remade as simply Planet of the Apes starring Mark Wahlberg in 2001 by director Tim (Mars Attacks!, Batman Returns) - a pointless and empty-headed affair that depressingly confirms the cynics' belief that Hollywood movies had gotten a lot worse the past two decades or so.

# 18
of the
Top 100 Sci-Fi Movies
of all time



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