Planet of the Apes (1968)

Planet of the Apes Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Planet of the Apes is a 1968 science fiction film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and starring Charlton Heston. It is one of the best blockbusters of all time.

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Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!

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Planet of the Apes Movie Review…………………………………………………….
I absolutely love this franchise and even though I like the current trilogy of films a bit more, I still absolutely love and admire this original film as it truly is a classic. It remains a true sci-fi classic and it came in the year of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ which goes to show that 1968 was probably the best and most influential year for this particular genre.
The story is simply phenomenal. I guess it can be a bit too preachy at times as was the norm for 50s and 60s SF movies, but it is mostly clever with its religious metaphors and the commentary on society. I really liked those courtroom drama sequences as they were very entertaining and sophisticated.

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Planet of the Apes Movie Review…………………………………………………….
Of course I have to talk about the ending. I loved the entire interrogations, scientific conversations as well as that very intriguing first act, but the finale remains the best and most memorable scene of the film. When he realizes that this has been Earth all along and that humans had gone extinct and been replaced by apes, the line “You maniacs” becomes truly impactful and tragic which is why it is even better than that famous “stinking paws” line (the entire movie is so damn quotable). That ending features one of the smartest and finest twists ever in a film and it remains one of the best and most unforgettable ending scenes of all time.
Let’s talk about the characters. The black guy of course died first which was beyond frustrating, but Dodge was a total bore regardless. Landon was better and his and Taylor’s arguments were quite solid. Of course Taylor is a memorable protagonist and I mostly really liked him. Nova was frustrating as this typical sex object and nothing more than that. Of the apes, Zira is naturally so likable as is Cornelius, but the standout is Dr. Zaius whose calculated mannerisms make him a perfect villain for this story.

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Planet of the Apes Movie Review…………………………………………………….
Planet of the Apes is very well directed and the performances are quite good, especially that of Charlton Heston who here gave one of his best performances in one of his most memorable roles.
As for the costumes, those apes are obviously people in costumes and they aren’t great. It doesn’t help that the brilliantly looking ‘2001’ came in this same year, but I thought some of the voices weren’t the best and I didn’t like some of their movements, mostly the kissing. However, this is a sixties film and they look nice for its time. I still liked their designs and I liked that the film made use of not just chimps, but also gorillas and orangutans. I liked that hierarchy.
But even though it makes sense for the production expenses, I still found big problems with this ape society. They obviously reached the equivalent of human 19th century owing to carriages and uniforms, but why then would they live in such terrible looking, ancient buildings? That made no sense whatsoever.

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Planet of the Apes Movie Review…………………………………………………….
But the film is still technically strong, though a bit campy at times. I’ve only had problems with costumes, society and sometimes on the nose themes, but the film is otherwise terrific and not only is it so well edited and paced, but always riveting to watch as it just flies by. I like that it is a blockbuster of its time nonetheless owing to its high level of action as those scenes were so well executed and exciting. The cinematography is beautiful and these real locations were fitting and chosen superbly. And of course the score is just marvelous. Very evocative in tone and simply unforgettable. It truly is a superb film which is highly rewatchable as I loved it the second time just as much as I did the first.
Planet of the Apes is such a marvelous movie. The themes aren’t subtly incorporated, but they are still clever. The story is riveting, sophisticated and filled with many great scenes such as that awesome twist ending which is one of the best in film history. The characters are memorable, the action is exciting, the cinematography is beautiful and the score is so memorable. Along with ‘2001’, it came in 1968 which is probably the best year for sci-fi ever and it definitely remains one of the best blockbusters of all time.

My Rating – 4.5

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Posted in 1960s, 1968, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS, SF and tagged , , , , , .

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