THE DAMN dirty apes are back! With Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes hitting the big screen recently, why not revisit the fine Ape movies that preceded it? Here’s a little lowdown of what to expect from these six hairy beasts among men
Planet Of The Apes (1968) The original, and arguably the best of the lot. Based on La Planète Des Singes by the French novelist Pierre Boulle (who also wrote Le Pont De La Rivière Kwai, which became the classic World War II movie The Bridge On The River Kwai), this film stars Charlton Heston as a discombobulated astronaut who has inadvertently crash landed on a strange planet. The year: 3978AD. To cut a long story short, the place is run by talking apes, they enslave him, he gets away. Right at the end, a shocking and iconic beach revelation causes him to drop to his knees and shout, “God damn you all to hell!” while grinding his gnarled fists into the wet sand.
Planet Of The Apes is available on Box Office
Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970) As the 1960s moved into the glam 1970s, so came another instalment to cash in on the acclaim of the first monkey movie. This time Heston’s role was cut down to just a few minutes, at his request, leaving the story to focus on the hairy adventures of a man called Brent, a fellow astronaut on a mission to track down Charlton Heston and his broken spaceship. Among the usual mob of talking apes, Brent also stumbles across some freaky humans who can read people’s minds and spend their days worshiping an old nuclear bomb. Without wanting to give anything away, the ending is rather, ahem, explosive.
Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (1971) Following the unmentionable ending from the last chapter, a trio of apes – Zira, Cornelius and Dr Milo – flee their planet in Charlton Heston’s old spaceship. Despite it having sunk into the depths of the ocean in the first movie. They land on earth in 1973, presumably after David Bowie had retired Ziggy Stardust, leaving plenty of room for three talking monkeys to become overnight celebs. But their moment in the spotlight soon turns sour when Zira gets smashed on champagne and spills the beans on what the future has in store for the human race. Cue anger, baby swapping and a tragic end for some actors in furry outfits.
The plot zig-zags between the original movie and the book that inspired it
Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes (1972) It’s 1983. Cats and dogs have all died out thanks to a rampant virus. Disgruntled families are scratching their heads, completely petless. An unsettling dilemma, no doubt, and one that results in brainwave lightbulbs exploding as they decide to turn monkeys first into household pets, and then into slaves. And they would have got away with it were it not for Zira and Cornelius’s rabble-rousing orphaned ape child, Caesar, who has enough brains to fashion a mighty revolution with his hirsute colleagues.
Battle For The Planet Of The Apes (1973) After the uprising from the previous movie, this one is told in flashback from many years in the future. Turns out that Caesar chimp did a pretty good job of standing up to mankind, and then somehow manufacturing a peaceful existence between man and monkey. But not for long. Especially if an absolutely livid gorilla called Aldo has got anything to do with it. The plot weaves, murder seems to be afoot, a baby monkey dies, people go bananas. Then, somehow, everyone lives happily ever after. The original ape saga over.
Planet Of The Apes (2001) So it goes that plans to relaunch the Planet of the Apes franchise had been sloshing around Hollywood since the mid-1980s. At different times, names including Oliver Stone, Peter Jackson, Tom Cruise and Charlie Sheen were all bandied around. But in the end it fell to Tim Burton and his invisible hairbrush to update the tale, with Mark Wahlberg on Charlton Heston duty, and Helena Bonham Carter excelling as a posh monkey-woman. In this case, the plot zig-zags between the original movie and the book that inspired it. But the different ending from the 1968 version doesn’t quite pack the same punch. Or does it? You decide…
Planet Of The Apes (2001) is available on Box Office
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