Planet of the Apes

Posted: October 24, 2018 in Movies
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It must have been carzy cool going to the theatre and watching Planet of the Apes for the first time in 1968. The film is a classic. It is famed for having one of the most shocking endings in the history of film. Don’t worry I won’t let that twist slip here but yea…that ending. Wow.

Planet of the Apes is directed by Franklin J. Schaffner. I do not know him nor am I familiar with his work outside of this movie. He’s done a lot more for sure but I guess this was the one that stood out. A classic of cinema is no small thing so either way he left his mark on the medium. Hollywood icon Charlton Heston starred in the picture alongside Fright Night’s Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans and Linda Harrison. Heston plays Taylor a U.S. astronaut who becomes stranded, with two other crew mates, on this weird alien looking planet after their space ship crashes. At first it looks as if this world is devoid of life until the trio come across humans…who can’t speak and act savage. Then come the apes…fully clothed, riding on the back of horses, holding rifiles and capturing/killing the human pests.

Yea. Things go from bad to worse for Taylor and his friends. Outside of the action, the wonder and the awesome special effects is a film that has a lot to say. Planet of the Apes is one of those boss films that uses science fiction to make a kind of commentary on the real life culture the audience of the time belongs to. When it came out in the late 1960’s race discrimination was (sadly still is) a big deal in the United States and other parts of the world. In the movie race is explored, the madness of man, greed and class systems within society. The way these issues are explored are through the ape society and how that works within itself. Then going further and turning the tables on man and as a result the audience. The film goes further (in a bold way for the late 60’s) by bringing in debates on science vs. religion. All of these talking points are just some of the reasons why I love the film as much as I do. I think this movie is way better and more interesting than any of the more recent ones. I’m not knocking the Andy Serkis Apes movies. I like them a lot. Just the ’68 version is on another level.

Legendary Hollywood composer Jerry Goldsmith did the score on this film and oh boy it is outstanding. The music in Planet of the Apes leaves as much of an impact on the audience as the shocking final image of the film. I LOVE the score because it can be spooky and alien at the same time. It makes you feel the unease Taylor must feel being on this alien landscape and so far from home. The make up and special effects are some of the best. Not of the time either. Great work is timeless and that goes for the work on display in Planet of the Apes. The apes look fantastic and the performences from the actors shine right through. I don’t think motion capture will ever match real world effects in that regard.

This film is so good. The visuals are some of the most impressive on location shots I have seen. All of the performences from the lead actors are excellent. This is a cinema classic for a good reason and it is THE reason why the Planet of the Apes franchise is still one of cinemas most impressive in 2018 and hopefully beyond.

 

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