Writer: Michael Wilson, Rod Serling (Screenplay) Pierre Boulle (Novel)
Starring: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly, Linda Harrison
Plot: An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: True Classic
Story: Planet of the Apes starts as we follow four astronauts who have been travelling for over 2000 years when the land on a new planet, George Taylor (Heston) take charge of the mission which does suffer a loss on the landing. Along with Landon (Gunner) and Dodge (Burton) the three explore the planet for a way to make sure they can survive.
When the men discover life on the planet, they believe it is only early evolution human, but things take a turn when apes treat the humans like cattle, hunting them down for slaves with Dr Zaius (Evans) learning about the humans with Dr Zira (Hunter) willing to give them a chance. Zira’s partner Cornelius (McDowall) questions he decision to help George but the apes live in a world where they are the almighty. Can George get off the planet before becoming another victim to this world.
Thoughts on Planet of the Apes
Characters/Performance – George Taylor is an astronaut on a long space mission with his crew, he is the commander and must lead his crew through the unknown planet, deal with an unknown threat and convince his own case of equality in a world of apes. Cornelius is the ambitious ape that goes against the idea of a biblical existence searching for answer in evolution. Zira also believes in more than the bible of apes and wants to study George to understand where he fits in the evolution stages. Dr Zaius wants to protect the apes, he experiments on the humans and see George as the biggest threat to his kinds type.
Performance wise, Charlton Heston is fantastic in this leading role showing his balance between hero and victim. Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans also all do great jobs through the whole film.
Story – The story sees what happens when a human space traveller finds themselves arriving in a new world with new rulers, that is the core of the story. What is brilliant to see here is the fact we get a social commentary going including equality, rights for species outside our own as well as the hunting scene including the photo shoot after and finally religion verses evolution. The mix is brilliant blended in a perfectly paced film.
Adventure/Sci-Fi – The adventure comes from a new world being explored by George with the sci-fi aspects shows us the new world we could be living in.
Settings – The settings all work for a future where apes rule a planet, showing how not everything has evolved yet.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the classic film that still maintains the look, the style and storytelling to outsmart most modern movie.
Overall: One of the best ever made.