Been working through the box set, so reckon it’s time for a poll…
- Now, the original Planet Of The Apes is exquisite, but it’s almost too familiar – “Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” and all that – to retain the full power of one’s first viewing. You can’t fault Franklin J Schaffner’s direction.
- Beneath The Planet Of The Apes I am particularly fond of. Sure, the Franciscus-for-Heston switcharoo is a bit distracting (though he’s no more wooden than Big Moses himself), and the monkey makeup is a bit ropey in places by comparison, but there’s a lot going for it, especially once we leave Ape City and enter the Forbidden Zone. Ted Post seems a touch hamfisted in comparison to Schaffner.
- Escape From The Planet Of The Apes was one I was less enamoured by, though it’s pretty tight with the whole reversal scenario, plus we get to meet Dr Hasslein. The echo of its premise could be heard in eighties films like ET and Short Circuit. Ex-actor Don Taylor (the flash flyboy officer from Stalag 17) directs perfunctorily.
- Then we get onto Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes. This one surprised me when first I saw it, it’s got real power despite the clearly limited budget. It’s a nice near-future set-up for the first and second movies, and links in well with the third. British journeyman director R Lee Thompson (Tiger Bay, Ice Cold In Alex, The Guns Of Navarone, Death Wish 4) does well in the circumstances.
- Finally (Amongst the originals), there’s Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, again directed by Thompson. Definitely not my favourite, but it adds a little colour to the post-Conquest ape planet.
- Next up is Tim Burton’s 2001 remake Planet Of The Apes. I’ll have to give it a fair go before I vote, as I only watched a bit of it previously, and my impressions were not overwhelmingly positive.
- Ditto the 2011 reboot Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, directed by Rupert Wyatt. All I know about it is something about a gorilla and a helicopter. Will investigate further.
I’d better get on and work through the whole lot then…
Oh, some top POTA websites:
- Hunter’s Planet Of The Apes Archive
- The Forbidden Zone
- The Last Flight Of The Icarus
- Hasslein Books
- Planet Of The Apes Media Archive
- The Sacred Scrolls: POTA Wiki
- Planet Of The Apes: The Television Series