PLANET OF THE APES
STARRING: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter,
Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly
1968, 112 Minutes, Directed by: Franklin J Schaffner
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!)
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
"A modern science fiction classic!"
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.
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.
Top 100 Sci-Fi
of all time