Sunday, August 17, 2003


A Video Review of "Planet of the Apes" (1968)

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

The original Planet of the Apes is considered a science fiction classic. After seeing it again recently I'd have to say the people doing the considering haven't seen it as recently as I have.

Memories of this flick are better than the movie itself. Everyone remembers the shock ending. What you forget is that the first half of the flick has next to nothing to do with what everyone remembers Planet of the Apes for - the apes. They don't show up until the middle of the film. First we are treated an endless walk through the desert highlighted by Charlton Heston philosophizing on how mankind sucks and is eventually doomed. Ironically he doesn't know how right he is.

Heston again plays the manly man hero as in other 1970s sci-fi flicks like Soylent Green and The Omega Man. Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter satisfactorily portray the primate roles they would repeat in sequels. Maurice Evans plays Dr. Zaius, a part more famous than he himself. One still has to wonder how the originally cast Edward G. Robinson would have done it.

The music is post-modern ambient space crap. Eerie, creepy, experimental and off the wall, it's hard to believe the soundtrack to Planet of the Apes is the early work of Jerry Goldsmith. In its day however this music was considered quite revolutionary. I don't get it.

It's still classic sci-fi and the ending is still a shocker despite the fact everybody now knows how it ends. It is still however one of writer Rod Serling's best twist endings. Planet of the Apes was followed by several sequels and a TV series and cartoon, even a 're-imagining' by Tim Burton, but the first is still the best.

Rating: ****

***** Must see
**** Worth seeing
*** So you have eight dollars you want to throw away…
** Is Adam Sandler in this mess?
* A bullet would be quicker.

The above originally appeared in a slightly different form at
Project Popcorn

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