REVIEW: Planet of the Apes (1968)

This is part 2 of 2 of the “Night of the Apes” on AMC. Since this movie is so old, the spoiler rule does not apply. So SPOILERS follow, for both the 1968 and 2001 versions.
Summary: Charton Heston is an astronaut who, thanks to time dilation from traveling so close to the speed of light, ages 18 months in the time it takes the rest of the universe to age over 2000 years. He crash lands on a planet seemingly without life, but he soon runs into primitive humans. He is captured by intelligent apes, some who believe he is a lesser being who must be enslaved and some who think he is the missing link between man and apes.

Turns out it was Earth all along.

Thoughts: I saw Tim Burton’s 2001 “re-imagining” of this movie once in theaters, but I had no idea how much re-imagining was involved on Burton’s part. This movie is nothing like the remake and, from what I remember of it, 1000x better.

Instead of being a convoluted time travel story where the apes evolved from test monkeys that had stayed at the same time while the human traveled forward in time for no reason and in the end the human lead escapes to travels back in time, I found the plot for the original to be much simpler and much more powerful. Planet of the Apes is a social commentary, more about faith vs science than anything else. The apes believe they are better than man but some believe that they evolved from man. It turns out that the apes in power might be covering something up. In the end, we find out that civilized man had wiped themselves out with war, and the apes decided to hide the fact that they are related to man so that they wouldn’t do the same.

The franchise went on to make 4 sequels, a live-action TV series, and an animated series, but I’m just going to leave it with this. A good science fiction story to make you think, which is what real “science fiction” is all about.

Overall: Classic genre defining science fiction.

Musical Excerpt (from “The Simpsons”):

I hate every ape I see
From chimpan-a to chimpan-zee
No, you’ll never make a monkey out of me

Oh my God, I was wrong
It was Earth all along

You’ve finally made a monkey
(Yes, we’ve finally made a monkey)
Yes, you’ve finally made a monkey out of me
(Yes, we’ve finally made a monkey out of you)

I love you, Dr. Zaius!


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