Thursday, September 16, 2010

Planet of the Apes (1968)


How many times has this movie been parodied, referenced and just plain imitated? Too many to count. Most people forget that the original film actually had an edge to it, something the sequels gradually lost in place of silliness. Many consider it a sci-fi classic. But just as many think of it as a camp classic. Where will I fall?


Colonel George Taylor (Charlton Heston) and his crew find themselves marooned on an alien world. At first they struggle just to survive the crash and find a place where they can get fresh water. They are eventually captured by the native people of the world - apes who speak and walk like humans. Taylor is injured and unable to communicate, but Dr. Zira (Kim Hunter) feels that he is no mere animal (like the other humans on this world) but an intelligent creature. She enlists of the help of her companion Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) and tries to convince Dr. Zaius (Maurice Evans) of the fact. But most of the apes don’t want to acknowledge that a human can be intelligent. When Taylor gets his voice back things go from bad to worse. What is the secret of the “Planet of the Apes”?

Good Points

  • An interesting concept at the heart of the story
  • Jerry Goldsmith provides an innovative and intense score
  • Impressive costumes and effects for the time

Bad Points

  • A bit heavy handed in places
  • Some of the acting is over the top
  • Overexposure has hurt the film for modern viewers


In a way this movie is tough to judge from a subject stance. Its so familiar that the ending is even telegraphed on the DVD cover! They figure you already know the twist. But beyond that, there is a lot of interesting ideas about human nature at the heart of the story, and they make this a little more than a simple adventure story. It may be over the top and a little silly, but there is a darkness to it, one that the end really brings home. While the first 15 minutes were on the slow side, things get interesting very quickly and overall I enjoyed the film.

Scores (out of 5)

Visual: 4

Sound: 3

Music: 4

Acting: 3

Script: 4

Direction: 4

Entertainment: 4

Total: 4

Curious about a full review, send me an email and I'll make additional thoughts to this review.

1 comment:

  1. I agree in every respect.

    Trivia: Linda Harrison (Nova) briefly appears in the 2001 remake as "woman in cart."