It is one of the most successful movie sagas in all of history. In terms of longevity, spin offs, sequels, and TV shows, only Star Wars comes close (Sorry, Mr. Bond). What is it about the Planet of the Apes’ films that drives fans back to watch them again and again? We here at Mania have a few reasons (10) on why we love the Planet of the Apes.
Roddy McDowell (1968, 1971-1974)
Whether it is his portrayal of Cornelius, Caesar or Galen, Roddy McDowell carries these movies with his innocence and inquisitive nature. He is simply trying to do the right thing for everyone involved. Whether that be for his wife, his race, or his new friend, he is the ideal dreamer in a world hell-bent on repeating the sins of the past.
John Houston and Paul Williams in Battle for The Planet of The Apes (1973)
All right, this film is probably the least popular in the whole series. The budget was cut down next to nothing and the series showed signs of running out of steam. One has to wonder why Paul Williams, musician and songwriter extraordinaire, is in this film. He is also great as the orangoutang Virgil. At the end of the film, we get see that this story was a lesson taught to ape and human children together by Lawgiver. He was portrayed by the legendary actor and director, John Huston (he claimed he did for the money). Both of these performers add a touch of class to this weak installment.
Tim Roth’s Performance in The Planet of The Apes (2001)
The film, directed by Tim Burton, is loaded with some of the best actors and best make-up ever caught on film. Burton came in at the last minute to help the studio on the picture. With that being said, what a nightmare. Only one thing makes Burton’s Planet of the Apes bearable, Tim Roth. Roth elevates every scene with his portrayal of Thade, the general hell-bent on war, so much so that you forget who is under all that make-up. What’s more shocking is that Roth picked this remake over the part of Professor Severus Snape in Harry Potter.
Caesar's Speech - Conquest of The Planet of The Apes (1972)
With his parents taken from him and his adoptive father murdered, this gentle being is forced into slavery. When he takes his destiny into his own hands, he forever shapes the future of his people and mankind. “Where there is fire, there is smoke. And in that smoke, from this day forward...”
Andy Serkis in Rise of The Planet of The Apes (2011) and Dawn of The Planet of The Apes (2014)
Andy Serkis has established what motion capture acting can bring to a film. His portrayal of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings saga set a very high bar. Only Serkis could follow it up with his portrayal of Caesar. All you need is three minutes of behind-the-scenes footage to understand that he is not just some tech in a suit. He is acting from the heart and bringing about a real performance.
Jerry Goldsmith’s score is never better than it is during the “The Hunt”. Up to this point in the film, Goldsmith has brought us to an entirely alien world. This isn’t any planet we have ever been on before. The horror is revealed when the goat horn is blown and the gorilla riders come into Taylor’s (Charlton Heston) view. The nightmare surfaces and our astronauts are forever separated.
Nova - Planet of the Apes (1968) and Beneath The Planet of The Apes (1970)
One might argue that she is nothing more than the most perfect woman in the galaxy. She has all the assets one would want if you were stranded in the future. Despite all that, Taylor still found the need for her to be able to speak. Linda Harrison, without a doubt, is one of the greatest pieces of sci-fi eye candy ever put on celluloid.
“The Trap” - The Planet of The Apes - TV Series Episode (1974)
This episode of the short lived TV show packs a serious punch, but not the one you would expect. The episode in question is the third in the series, "The Trap". Burke (James Naughton) and General Urko (Mark Lenard) are trapped in an old subway station. The two enemies are forced to work together to survive. In the process, General Urko learns the horrific truth that man was once the dominate species on the planet. A curtain is pulled back and the big baddie learns the cold hard truth. Lenard shines through all the make up and delivers a great performance.
The Statue of Liberty - The Planet of The Apes (1968)
It was not in the original novel and clearly brought into the mix by the legendary Rod Serling. This plot point is also one of the greatest spoilers in history and as common knowledge as Darth Vader being Luke Skywalker’s father. Yet, it still gets us every time.
Escape from The Planet of The Apes (1971)
Cornelius and Zira escape their doomed world and travel back to where Taylor and Brent (James Franciscus) came from. However, much like those two astronauts, they learn how cruel the masters of the planet can be. The film starts off with light hearted moments and Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter are on top of their game. However, it is Eric Braeden’s Doctor Hasslein and his attempt to stop the future that leaves its mark.
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