Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The World According to Apes

With the successful latest Ape movie, I'm glad Rise of the Planet of the Apes was able to save this franchise. Let's face it, we haven't had many gems since the original Planet of the Apes film starring Charlton Heston came out. It's amazing that the whole franchise has survived this long, and it's a testament to the main message of all the films: man is capable of great things, but we're also capable of booting ourselves right off the evolutionary ladder pretty easily.

Growing up in a Star Wars world, Planet of the Apes was the second banana (ouch, that was bad). But I as a fan, I wanted to give you my take on all the Apes movies.

(1968) Planet of the Apes. A science-fiction classic, based on a French novel. Charlton Heston was awesome as Taylor, the astronaut that crash lands on a planet ruled by apes. Roddy McDowell playing the scientist chimp Cornelius and Kim hunter as Dr. Zira really steal the show. And of course, Linda Harrison as the beautiful Nova was eye candy. This movie has so many memorable lines. One of my favorites: "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!" So in the end, Taylor discovers that the planet is actually Earth, and that we humans blew each other up with nuclear bombs. So apes replaced man as the ruler of Earth.

(1970) Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Pretty crappy sequel. Charlton Heston shows up in the second half of the film while another astronaut named Brent crash lands in search of Taylor. Brent and Taylor team up to find a bunch of weirdo telepathic humans living underground who worship a nuclear bomb. The apes invade, Taylor's shot, and just before he dies he hits the button essentially destroying the Earth. Yeah. It's just as bad as it sounds. Maybe worse.

(1971) Escape from the Planet of the Apes. Cornelius, Zira, and some other scientist chimp escape the nuclear explosion and somehow manage to get inside Taylor's spaceship. They ride the nuclear blast in the ship, and they're transported back to 1970s Earth. They're instant celebrities! But the government turns on them, Zira gives birth to a baby named Milo, and some crazy dude kills Cornelius and Zira and a baby ape (that he thought was the intelligent Milo). This wasn't too bad of a movie, and it does manage to capture some of the snappy dialogue of the first movie. But overall, it was just OK.

(1972) Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. God-awful movie. It's 1983 and all cats and dogs die. So humans turn to chimps. They enslave the chimps, until one of them named Caesar begins an ape revolt against the humans. I appreciate the social commentary of this film, but this was really a terrible flick.

(1973) Battle for the Planet of the Apes. The film franchise goes out with a whimper here. It's not as bad as Conquest, and it does bring the entire story arc to a final close. But it's so-so at best. It's the 21st century, and Caesar attempts to get the apes and humans to get along, post nuclear war. A zealous gorilla doesn't want peace and tries to overthrow Caesar (et tu Brute?). In the end, apes and humans decide to live together in perfect harmony, side by side on my piano...

(2001) Planet of the Apes. A complete reboot directed by Tim Burton. The costumes and make up is incredible, but the movie is mediocre. It's not too bad up until the ending. The ending doesn't make complete sense. I won't give it away, but let's just say that when Mark Wahlberg returns to his time on Earth, the world he knew might be a little harrier.

(2011) Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I wasn't sure where the move belonged in the Ape's timeline. It wasn't a sequel OR a prequel to the 2001 film, that much is clear. This movie is awesome, and I think a lot of people have been surprised at how good this film is. It is most definitely a prequel to the 1968 Planet of the Apes film, but as a standalone, it is a fantastic story with believable CGI.

The 1968 original and the current prequel really are the only two movies worth seeing. The other five films were just blown out of a baboon's butt, really. I hope the leave the franchise alone, as this is the perfect way to end it. But something tells me the Apes will be back.


T. S. Bazelli said...

I wasn't sure about the latest movie from the preview, but I've been hearing good things about it. I think I will go watch it...

Tiyana, aka "Yoyo" said...

After seeing previews of the last few that came before, I thought I'd never get into any of the Apes movies, lol; but the latest one changed my mind!

Thanks for writing this, Jay. I was unsure about the old ones, but I think I'll actually check out the '68 original, for sure. :)

Phats said...

The closest I have come to seeing anything of Planet of the Apes is when Troy McClure does the broadway version of it on the Simpsons haha :) I see it's doing awesome at the Box Office.

Star Wars Fan? If you go to disney you have to do the Star Tours ride you'd love it!!

How about the US Open? I am liking Serena and really rooting for Novak

Jay Noel said...

I'm thinking about going back and watching the 1968 original myself.

Phats - Serena is surging. I've always liked "The Joker." I also think a young newcomer on the mens side is going to get to the quarters.

M Pax said...

I loved the original movie and still do. I watched the TV show religiously as a kid.

Jay Noel said...

I had the Planet of the Apes Viewfinders. Remember those? They were toys that looked like binoculars where you would put those round discs in and see everything in 3-D.

Ellie Garratt said...

I have to agree with all your comments. The first and latest film are the only ones worth watching.

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