Cert: 15 Runtime: 95 mins Director: Ted Post Cast: James Franciscus, Kim Hunter, Linda Harrison, Paul Richards and Maurice Evans
They will dissect you! And they will kill you! In that order!
Since Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is out this week, and I have reviewed the main movies. I thought we would tackle the sequels of the franchise. First of all Beneath the Planet of the Apes! So what is the original sequel all about? Astronaut Brent (James Franciscus) is sent to rescue Taylor but crash lands on the Planet of the Apes, just like Taylor did in the original film. Taylor has disappeared into the Forbidden Zone so Brent and Nova (Linda Harrison) try to follow and find him. He discovers a cult of humans that fear the Apes’ latest military movements and finds himself in the middle. Tension mounts to a climactic battle between ape and man deep in the bowels of the planet.This movie may not compare to the “Planet of the Apes” movies released in recent years that show off great outfits, makeup or special effects. But it makes up with sincere intention and thought-provoking message for mankind.
Limited expectations for “Beneath”, the first sequel, were exceeded and while the tone of this film is considerably more morose to that of the others, there’s still plenty to enjoy. The cast of characters is both distinguished and diverse and not easily dismissed; Franciscus, Hunter, Evans, Heston, Richards, Corey, Buono, Gomez, Trundy, Colley, Sierra – it’s a film buff’s fantasy to spot the faces, even if some are unrecognisable. The sets are again superb with the mutant underworld nicely contrasting the harsh, dry landscape of the apes’ surface civilisation.Finally, the film’s tone resonated. From the death of the skipper (Andrews) early in the picture, to the film’s final massacre, director Post handles moribundity with surprising dignity and sincerity. It’s more violent than its predecessor, the outlook less optimistic and the plot perhaps more clichéd and to some extent imitable, but, despite the criticisms it remained compelling, entertaining and the next best in the original series of five, closely followed by “Escape”.