Planet of the Apes (1968)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Aged, but clever.

This film was selected from ‘The 250’

Practically anyone who’s anyone knows that I don’t typically rate older movies. I sometimes watch the ones that I’ve seen before that I know I like, but I hardly ever take risks with films I haven’t actually seen yet, like the original Planet of the Apes series. I know it’s famous, but at the same time, it is twenty years older than I am…how well can that translate for a modern audience? Would anyone really care to see it nowadays if it were re-released? Not really, we have a couple remakes for those people. However, the concept of the series alone is enough to warrant interest in the first film of the franchise way back in 1968. Fair enough, so how does it do?

Well let’s introduce the main character, or the hero of the film, Taylor (Charlton Heston), he is an astronaut that, with a team, lands on some distant planet where Apes rule the world and humans are seen as the animals. He is naturally taken in as an animal, but when he starts speaking, a hidden history of the evolutionary chain shows the possibility that apes evolved from man – and there is a hearing held to decide the fate of this freak of nature that can somehow speak and think for itself.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that the movie is fantastic, because it’s flawed like crazy. First, you have a range of horrible acting, led by Charlton Heston, who apparently has to insist on being the most melodramatic over-actor of the bunch. There’s a difference between having that monologue where he just looks so serious and talks to himself like Captain Kirk, and then having a normal conversation before laughing hysterically for no apparent reason. Then there are the apes with the bad outfits. They wouldn’t have been so bad if the movement of their mouths didn’t look so retarded and obviously fake. The plot is okay, but it’s more the concept and hidden messages this film has that qualifies it as a classic.

I admit. I’m not a huge fan of older movies, and this film is a perfect example of what doesn’t really translate well for an audience that has modern expectations. It does have that ‘60s cheese feel that only works for that era – giving it that unique feel, but it’s hard to see beneath all of the laughable scenes. Now, let’s talk about the good stuff, because there is definitely good stuff.

This film provokes the viewer to really think about our society and culture from an outside perspective. Things like animal cruelty, discrimination, church vs. state, the silencing of scientific discoveries in the name of religion, the fear of something we don’t understand, and controlling the population in order to meet their own hidden agendas – that’s all there, and done incredibly well. I might also have to state that this film also had one of the most impressive endings done for a movie this old. I never saw the movie before, and I can easily say that the ending…still…works for an audience member that goes in blindly. That is very, very impressive. *slow claps*

The Good:

Like I just said, there are some very strong internal messages that this film brilliantly covered. Animal cruelty, discrimination, evolutionary controversies and what that means if proven. The history and science of this planet is really smartly written, and a known face like Heston is perfect for this type of film.

The Bad:

The thing I can’t get over, is the fact that the movie just isn’t attractive. It has a semi-unique dystopian look, but for the most part it just looks like Arizona desert. The acting was really bad and overdone most of the time; the costumes of the apes aren’t really horrible, but those darn mouths aren’t much better than puppet mouth movements. It just doesn’t translate very well for a modern audience for the most part.

Memorable Quote:

Julius: “Human see, human do.”

2 thoughts on “Planet of the Apes (1968)

  1. Charlton Heston was in a lot of movies in his heyday. I think he was one of my mom’s favorite actors. 😀 I liked him in Soylent Green although the standards of acting were different then and now. 😀 Great review. I might check this out too just to compare with Marky Mark’s version.


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