Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Starts off strong.
This film was selected from ‘The 250’
So older movies I typically avoid, but there’s something interesting enough about the Planet of the Apes series that just compels me to keep watching. You don’t have a lot of movies like this when you come to think of it. That can either be seen as a good thing or bad, but in any case, I decided to keep watching the classic series, continuing with the second film, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, which actually continues on right after the first film…which I’m actually really glad they did. They could have done so many different things, including making another Planet of the Apes film that doesn’t continue with the canon of the first. The first actually had a bit of a cliffhanger, and being able to see what happens next is definitely a good thing.
So, to recap the events of the first, and this will spoil the first film, so if you haven’t seen it, check it out. Okay. So, you got this guy named Taylor that lands on a planet full of apes that can talk and humans that can’t. Role Reversal 101. At the end of the film, he escapes with one of the human females and goes into the forbidden area of the planet, where the apes don’t follow. It is there that he learns that this “planet of the apes” is actually earth some 2,000 years in the future. Huge twist. I was impressed for such an old movie to have such an iconic and memorable twist that still works well for a modern audience. Anyways, this film continues with that twist, unraveling more of what’s in store in this new area on earth.
Great, okay, so on some other part of the planet, another astronaut lands on the planet. He is part of a search and rescue mission looking for Taylor, who hadn’t returned to earth. Obviously, he finds the ape city, but thankfully it’s not some repeat of the first. Instead, he escapes that city rather early on in the film and finds a cave that leads him to more of New York. This. This is really cool. However, that’s unfortunately where the cool ends, because this is where the series unravels. There are futuristic people that live underground and peel off their faces and have mutant powers. Yeah. I won’t give any more away, but for the love of god. Seriously?
I was totally loving this movie, believe it or not, until he met the underground people. It didn’t have as much clever messages as the first, no, but the beginning of this film was done so well. It had Charlton Heston reprising his role, the same goes for the character of Nova. We get to see a more advanced look at this dystopian, long destroyed New York. No, it’s not perfect, but a lot of hard work was put into making it look 2,000 years dead. I was game for this to be more of an adventure film, finding more clues as to what happened…but good god, the answer sucked. The ape city, the dystopian land, the long lost city…it all looked and felt primitive and cool. Then along comes cheesy future people with powers that killed the mood. Not only that, but this is the Planet of the Apes, and a good 50-60% of the film had no apes. It was just poorly written.
I also made a note last time around, as I mentioned above, that for 1968, the first film not only had an impressive ending, but good all around. I’m talking about movies in general – it had an awesome ending, hands down one of the best I’ve ever seen in a movie. The second one comes along and it’s following by example – at least to start, and I’m actually excited to see what they do. The ending of this film. I won’t give it away, but in contrast to the first and again – against movies in general, was one of the worst film endings I have ever seen hands down. So much potential. So many things they could have done…I wish I could say it, but I won’t. So frustrating.
The first half.
The last half.