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Planet of the Apes is a genre to itself

Updated on July 21, 2011
"You may not like what you find."
"You may not like what you find." | Source
Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes

The original book by Pierre Boulle


Okay, so to kick off my new series of hubs regarding sequels, prequels, remakes and redos, what better movie to select than one that has spawned pretty much all of the above?

Planet of the Apes was released in 1968, based on a French book by Pierre Boulle. It went on to produce a sequel (Beneath the Planet of the Apes - 1970) and three movies that are part sequel, part prequel (Escape from the Planet of the Apes - 1971; Conquest of the Planet of the Apes - 1972; and Battle for Planet of the Apes - 1973). Then, in 1974, there was one season of a live action "Planet of the Apes" series, then a season of "Return to the Planet of the Apes," an animated series. In 2001, there was the ill-received Burton remake, Planet of the Apes, and just later this year, I have great hopes for Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

And that's just the stuff you can buy on DVD and Blu-ray.

But back to the original.

What exactly is it in that first movie that causes Hollywood to keep returning to it? We've seen post-apocalyptic movies before. We've seen mankind downtrodden and treated like dirt.

I think it is the very concept that just sings to us. If apes are man's closest cousins, genetically, then what exactly differentiates the two? Man from mammal? Ape from Adam? It's easy for us to content ourselves with the thought that it's our use of speeching and our big-normous intellects. But what if that was suddenly no longer a dividing line?

The movie follows an astronaut named George Taylor (Charlton Heston) who leaves Earth in the year 1972 with a small group of astronauts. They're on a trip in the direction of the constellation Orion at near light speed. There is an accident and they crash land on a strange planet in the year 3978. They soon discover a human-like race that can't speak and lives like animals. There is also a civilization of apes that hunt the humans for sport and experiment on them.

The movie forces the viewer to re-contextualize some of their previous assumptions. And there is plenty to re-think regarding what it is to be the "dominant" form of life on the planet. What rights do you have? What responsibilities?

And the makeup is just superb, though it's fairly standard by today's reckoning. The show "Mystery Science Theater 3000" even had the character Professor Bobo that regularly pulled off the same makeup trick that they spent months developing for this movie.

Still, you can't argue with results. And if you compare it with the standard "man in a monkey suit" technique, it's elegantly convincing.

And it has one of the most iconic endings in cinema ever. And that ain't nothing to sneeze at.

Now, when I talk about the Tim Burton "re-imagining," I'll have even more to say regarding the way that the book was adapted to make this movie, but for now, I think I've made my point.

I give this one 9 / 10.

Planet of the Apes is rated G, though by today's standards, it would definitely get a higher rating. It has a little bit of language, but I'm thinking mainly of two scenes where you see bare man bum. They're quick, but blatant.


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    • n3xus6 profile image

      n3xus6 6 years ago

      I'm worried about the new planet of the apes...The story of Planet of the apes is most poignant if the apes rise without too much interference from man. That's the element that makes the movie "scary" and compelling.

      This new movie makes it look like the ape will be engineered to a large degree. Making Caesar the son of apes from the future was a good trick, but in that episode, we saw that apes had already been made a more active part of human daily life, and that there were a lot of them everywhere, so caesar didn't have too hard a task getting them to follow orders...

      A last, kind of sad note...there are actually very few great apes alive. the commercial makes it look like there are a lot more apes ready to revolt than even exist, as the actual number would be pretty not scary :(

    • CarltheCritic1291 profile image

      Carl 6 years ago

      I love the first movie (the original of course, despite being a Tim Burton Fan it was hard for me to accept that his 2001 re-make didn't quite reach my expectations). But any way, the original for me was one of Rod Serling's greatest works that depicted the post apocalyptic future (which coincidentally was similar to how I felt about "A Clockwork Orange" your "favorite" film :P Just Kidding) But in all seriousness, great hub, 9/10 is a fair score for this film, and thank you for posting Garlonuss. Keep writing more. Voted Up, Useful, and Interesting.

    • Garlonuss profile image

      Garlonuss 6 years ago from Saratoga Springs, Utah

      Yes, what they did with Zaius' character truly pushed the apes past being mere sophonts toward being real and actual, devious, conniving politicians. Truly the worst trait we could ever pass on to any civilization.

    • n3xus6 profile image

      n3xus6 6 years ago

      Most significant about 1968's Planet of the apes, i thought, was how Dr. Zaius was fully aware of everything Taylor thought, and Cornelius and Zira were trying to prove...the fact that the planet was in fact Taylor's Earth, and that humans in fact were in charge once...Zaius knew all of this, and sought to suppress it, which added to the more human than human character of the apes.

      A flawed film, but a sincere and masterfully done film, and one of my favorites.

      Of all the 60's and 70's post-apocalypse films, I think "Rollerball" stood out as the best, but there's no denying the significance of the Apes films. Good hub, dude.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      I saw all of the original movie series. I enjoyed most of the them. But none of them I enjoyed as much as the first one.

    • poetvix profile image

      poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      I can't wait for the newest installment to this cultural phenomenon. I love all the originals and find it so interesting that mankind projected his best and worst qualities onto his imagined cousin of the future.