The Planet of the Apes (1968)

The Planet of the Apes (1968)

I dunno whether this particular one is gonna be just a quickie take or a full fledged review, I love this movie so much but this is gonna be the first one of 9 pieces I’m doing on each of the Apes movies, to lead up to a podcast where Kev and I will have some guests on to discuss the old and the new Planets of Apes.

As for this one it really just appeals to the film fanatic in me. It is a classic film through and through. It has some of the most majestic scenes and the landscapes they capture are just beautiful to behold. The slow burn as this film transitions from a space odyssey to something more is simply fantastic. The slow build as the three astronauts journey across the strange yet familiar planet, bonding and trying to establish their bearings is just an excellent way to endear them to us so that their ultimate fates hit us that much harder.. When the eponymous apes finally arrive on screen they are people hunting which is both shocking and adds to the idea of them as superiors to humans. The absence of speech from the chase adds to the tension and danger felt throughout as the humans are rounded up or killed. A similar chase scene occurs right before Taylor played by Charlton Heston speaks to the apes in this iconic scene.

3-Planet-of-the-Apes

And the build up to this scene is also expertly done, with Taylor trying to express his intelligence in all the ways that the repressive society and his damaged throat will allow. Miming words trying to steal notebooks. Eventually he escapes when he learns of his impending lobotomy and we get a highly entertaining chase scene where Taylor runs through the ape streets and learns of one of his comrades fate, he was turned into a museum exhibit. This coupled with his capture anger him so much that he makes the exclamation pictured above.

This leads to a court scene that has two more iconic scenes;

This scene can further the reading of this film as a social commentary of the 1960s-70s but could also be applied to modern society and advanced society in general. This film can be unpacked in so many ways and enjoyed as a sci-fi, a social commentary, an action film or a classic creature feature.

It is impossible to talk about this classic film without talking about the real star, the masks and make-up on the apes. Created by the man who gave Spock his ears, John Chambers. He is to be commended on his work in this film, each of the main character apes is expressive and believable, and even after 50 years the apes masks still seem real and serve to enhance the actors’ outstanding performances. Even though the lip movement is limited by the rubber nature of the masks, the make-up emphasises the eyes and the prosthetics can pick up even minor facial expressions. They are just so impressive. These are some of the most iconic faces in movie history and they are masks.

I would rate this film a 9/10 all the elements of this film are fantastic and iconic moments are abound from start to finish. I would highly recommend this film if you like old films, sci-fi, practical effects and prosthetics. This is a major chapter in the history of film.

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