Friday, December 24, 2010

Planet of the Apes. A-

My memories of Planet of the Apes are mostly foggy, the only real concrete idea in my head being that I loved what I saw. Of course, I was only six or seven then, so if I had happened to catch the first scene where the apes come in, I would likely consider it a new favorite along with Willow and Indiana Jones. Seeing it again wasn't like reliving a past memory, but rather watching something that was completely new and utterly cool (that it happened to be on my new 50 inch HD TV probably helped). My thought was that the apes were savage creatures who try to drive out the intelligent humans, but it's actually the other way around (shows how much I remember from the movie). The apes inhabit a strange planet (though its real location is given away by the movie's DVD cover) where they live, dress, and talk like humans, while the humans are confined to prisons where they're looked upon as we look upon apes today (there's even a reference of putting a person in a village zoo). So really there's a game of opposites going on. Charlton Heston plays a cynical astronaut whose spaceship crashes on the planet in the year 3978 (time dilation keeps him and his crew members from aging). At first the planet seems remote, but then we find that there are humans, who are quickly captured by apes on horses with shotguns. Planet of the Apes doesn't tell a story so much as it tries to find a reason for the apes and their superiority over man. It's a brilliantly made film, far superior to most movies of its time. The ape costumes are marvelous, looking much more modern than you'd expect them to be in 1968. Planet of the Apes was remade by Tim Burton back in 2001, buy ironically it's the only movie of his I've never seen. Besides two intense action sequences, Planet of the Apes is very quiet and sophisticated. It's pretty talky, but since the apes actually speak, anyone should be entertained by it. final note: the ending shocked me, and immediately made it on my list for greatest movie endings of all time.

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