Sunday, March 23, 2008

Movie Review - Beneath the Planet of the Apes

I am a lifelong fan of The Planet of the Apes Franchise. (It's amazing, really, because the original Planet of the Apes is 40 years old this year, with it's original premiere 2 years prior to my birth! (Original release date April 3, 1968) - Hell, the first sequel (Beneath the Planet of the Apes) was released in May of 1970, still before I was born!

As a kid I loved the POTA stuff; specifically vague memories of hanging out at my friend Dougie's house, sleeping over and staying up late to watch repeats of Planet of the Apes tv show. I found the apes thrilling and a liittle bit scary. (Similar for me to two other frightening yet exciting characters of my childhood; the scary flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz and the Sleestacks of Land of the Lost) Unsurprisingly, Land of the Lost premiered in 1974 and ran from the fall of 1974 until the third and final season of 1976. Thus, it was perched in the Sat. morning line-up for me from the ages of 3-5, enough to remember liking the show, being scared of the Sleestacks, and the opening scene of the raft going over the falls into The Land of the Lost!

A few years ago I taped all 5 Apes films off TCM and watched them through with my then girlfriend, now wife. Recently I purchased a nice box set of all 5 films plus a making of disc for $25 on I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Beneath the POTA. It picks up somewhat after the first film, with another astronaut (Brent) in search of Taylor, (Charlton Heston) who we last saw at the end of the original apes, on his knees in the sand, the tide rising, as he screamed to the heavens in anger and frustration at the Statue of Liberty, ripped in half, lying in the ocean, only the top half still sturdy.

Brent eventually tracks Taylor down in a subterranean lair in the Forbidden Zone, run by a bunch of mutated humans with mind control powers.. The mutants look completely normal until the scene in which of of them pulls off his lifelike mask to reveal a hideously deformed face. (Maybe from exposure to the freaking Doomsday bomb that the Mutated Humans worship?)

The apes, with Zaius along, are on the trail of Brent and track him to the Mutant's lair. In the ensuing chaos of the battle between apes and humans, Taylor is shot, and yet as his dying breath rushes out of him, he falls to his knees and completes the controls for the Doomsday machine, a weapon supposedly capable of annihilating the entire planet with the chain reaction it will set off. The movie ends with a blank screen and a cold voice telling us simply that this planet, in this particular universe, ceased to exist from that point on. The year is 3955, as we on Earth know it.

A very bleak and unexpected ending, and interesting in light of the 3 more sequels to come, and when I review them we will talk a little about the alternate universe theory (with a link or two on some people who have put together some interesting timelines regarding the Apes series.

Not much to watch for me today in the tourney. Siena blew it, so that leaves me basically rooting for Oklahome (coached by ex Duke blue devil player and coach k K protege Jeff Capel) and for someone to knock out Memphis.

Beast out

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey bud, really like the new look of your blog. I meant to post my last comment but I think it was emailed to you - no big. I know how much of a Yankee hater you are, but I found a pretty funny article written by Sweeny Murti where he goes off on the people who are calling him the Yankee jinx.. heres the link if u want to check it out...