Sunday, 19 May 2013

Classic Movie Review Planet of the Apes (1968)

"If this is the best this planet has we will be running this place in 6 months". Well Charlton why didn't you read the title of the film? Oh well Chimpanzee that!
Planet of the Apes (1968) Poster 
An astronaut crew led by Taylor (Charlton Heston, who I always think as a cross between Paul Newman and Marlon Brando) crash lands on a planet in the distant future. This planet has apes as the dominant species, and humans are just wild creatures who are oppressed and enslaved. 1968 was a brilliant year for sci-fi movies with this particualr film and Stanley Kubricks masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey been released that year too.The one thing that bugs me about this film is the UK DVD cover ruins the brilliant twist ending. I have never seen this film before (I know shock right) I have seen the Tim Burton remake, which is very poor compared to this classic. So when Charlton Heston at the end does a brilliant portrayal of shock at what he sees I was like, "well I have been waiting for it, because its on the cover!, yeah thanks 20th Century Fox appreciate it, so that is the great famous ending". Why not just print on front of the 6th Sense cover what happens at the end in that film!!, anyhow moving on.

The film for me questions human society, it puts humanity in the shoes (if they wore them) of Animals, on our very own planet, by that I mean caged and in a zoo or hunted for sport. Because that is what these Apes do to these Humans on this planet. It raises the question of what would we do if Animals took over.

This is a brilliant Science-Fiction movie and you can easily see why it lead to many sequels, spin offs and even modern day prequels. It somehow endures and still feels like a must see. The costume and makeup is brilliant for the time. Yes they have probably aged now, but this 1968 so for the time it was well done. This film probably gets a lot of undeserved stick for been a cheesy unwatchable aged 60's movie, I can tell you now it isn't, it is still a great watch and like I said before it questions humanity.

The Apes are brilliantly portrayed by the actors, especially the three main ones we see. The nerdy but rebellious Dr. Cornelius played brilliantly by Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter who for me very nearly steals the picture in her role passionate and trusting Dr. Zira and Maurice Evans as Dr. Zaius. Dr Zaius is the "leader" of the Apes and is just pure evil, he does not like humans at all where as Dr. Zira is always trying to discover more about them, he just sees them as savages. Yes they just look like actors in Ape costume but they believe in their characters and it shows. The friendship that develops and comes to the front between Taylor and the two good doctors is brilliantly done, he would be lost without their friendship and trust.

The film has some very famous quotes that go down in cinema history, one such perfectly delivered by Charlton Heston when he gets caught by the Apes while trying to escape, pure cinema gold. The music score from Jerry Goldsmith is perfect, he has some wonderful music pieces that just fit in perfectly. The cinematography by Leon Shamroy is brilliant, the camera angles he sometimes uses are amazing. For instance in one particular scene he uses what I call the worm view camera (looking up) and even has Chalton Heston jump over it during a action chase scene, its great to see.

Now if your only experience of this series is the god awful Tim Burton remake, you owe to yourself to see this film. I really enjoyed it and thought the direction and story were second to none.
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