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Movie Review

Planet of the Apes

Reviewed by: Eric Paddon
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
10 to Adult
Genre:
Sci-Fi Adventure Mystery Drama
Length:
1 hr. 42 min.
Year of Release:
1968
USA Release:
April 3, 1968 (wide)
Relevant Issues
Cover graphic from “Planet of the Apes”

apes

horses

court trial

desert

death

apes hunting humans

science runs amok

lobotomy

caged humans

racism

class differences

post apocalypse

evolution

creationism

religion

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Featuring: Charlton Heston … Colonel George Taylor
Roddy McDowall … Cornelius
Kim Hunter … Dr. Zira
Maurice Evans … Dr. Zaius—Minister of Science
James Whitmore … President of the Assembly
James Daly … Dr. Honorious—Deputy Minister of Justice
Linda Harrison … Nova
Robert Gunner … Landon
more »
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Producer: APJAC Productions
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Mort Abrahams
Arthur P. Jacobs
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Probably one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made, “Planet Of The Apes” tells the tale of cynical, misanthropic astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston) who leaves Earth in search of “something better than man.” Instead, he finds himself 2000 years in the future in a living nightmare on a planet where apes are the dominant being, and humans are savage, mute primitives kept in cages. As he struggles in this world where the concept of an intelligent human is unheard of, Taylor finds himself becoming a defender of his race for the first time, but the end of the movie offers a shocking climax that shatters his newfound faith in humanity and instead vindicates his earlier instincts.

“Planet Of The Apes” is terrific moviemaking, with an outstanding script, direction and score, and magnificent performances. This is Heston’s finest role outside the Biblical epics he’s best noted for, while Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans excell under layers of convincing Oscar®-winning ape makeup in their parts.

The cautionary note for Christians when viewing this movie has to do with a reverse evolution/creation debate that comes up in this movie. The religious apes come across as intolerant bigots, and this can be seen as a hidden slam against the traditional theological Christians of our own world. At the same time though, one should keep in mind that ultimately the instincts of the religious leader, Dr. Zaius are proved right by the film’s climax, and one can perhaps see in the film a cautionary warning to Christians about what the most effective way of defending religious principles should be.

Made in 1968, there is no graphic violence (some mild shootings) or language. There is one “God damn” uttered in this movie, but as Charlton Heston noted in his journal, it was meant as a literal plea for God to bring judgment, and not a profane taking of His name. Apart from that, it is fine sci-fi entertainment for those at least 10-11 and above.


Viewer Comments
While this is a very well made movie for its genre, the very origin of the movie is anti-God. aside from the surprising amount of nudity for a movie that old, it pokes fun at Christianity by showing Christians as unenlightened, superstitious bigots… My Ratings: [2½/3½]
—The Voice
I saw this movie when it was first released in theaters. I can still hear my mother gasping in revulsion when one of the human characters kissed Zira, one of the apes (grin). This is a very entertaining movie. It gives the audience some thoughts about the negative effects of prejudice—the apes harbor what we would consider “racist” views towards humans. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Hillari Hunter, age 38