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Planet of the Apes

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Planet of the Apes

Starring: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall
Director: Franklin Schaffner
Rated: G
RunTime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: February 1968
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Classic, Cult, Action

*Also starring: Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, Linda Harrison

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Andrew Hicks review follows movie review
2.  Dragan Antulov read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
3.  Jerry Saravia read the review ---

Review by Andrew Hicks
1 star out of 4

"You damn dirty apes!" That's just one of the inadvertenty hilarious lines from PLANET OF THE APES that's taken on a comedic context over time. No one back then seemed to realize how over-the- top Charlton Heston's acting style was, but it shows now, particularly in this "Mystery Science Theater 3000" wannabe that was taken for a film masterpiece in its time, actually winning one Oscar (for makeup, no less) and being nominated for a couple others. It also spawned multiple sequels like Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape From the Planet of the Apes, Return of the Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Escape from the Return of the Planet of the Apes, Planet of the Apes: The Next Generation, Police Academy of the Apes... the list goes on.

Heston is an American astronaut who spends a few thousand light years in space with his three companions and ends up on a planet not too dissimilar from Earth. The thing is, on this planet humans can't talk or think and the guys in the gorilla masks are the dominant species. Heston's companions are killed or turned into vegetables by the apon is imprisoned. He surprises them all with his gift of speech, making two primate scientists (Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter) believe Heston is the missing link between ape and man. Believe me, we movie critics have been thinking the same thing for years.

When the two apes present the idea before a judicial counsel (the head ape being Shakespearean actor Maurice Evans), it is received as heresy, for all good monkeys know God "created ape in His image." But Heston has already seen a cave that contains evidence that humans were originally the dominant species, before apes ever gained the ability to speak and run for president. And he takes them there, holding up a baby doll and yelling, "If humans couldn't speak, then how do you account for this TALKING DOLL?!" And how do you account for your acting ability, Mr. Heston?

The absolute most laughable scene comes with the movie's surprise conclusion. I won't reveal the details except to say it involves Heston falling to his knees on a beach and yelling "God damn you all to hell!" several times in succession. The movie is atrocious and should only be viewed by those members of society who like to watch bad movies and laugh at them.

What makes PLANET OF THE APES even more amusing is that it was supposed to function as some sort of social irony, a condemnation of fundamentals who reject the theories of evolution. But let me tell you, if Darwin could see the ape masks and hear the rotten dialogue exchanges (HESTON [to female ape]: May I kiss you before I go? APE: But... you're so... ugly.), he'd convert to creationism on the spot. Luckily for us, science-fiction movies have evolved over time to the point at which some of them are actually good.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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