My beau and I recently watched two of the Planet of the Apes movies, the 2001 Tim Burton film and the 2011 20th Century Fox film, and got into the franchise enough to want to watch the original movies. The series of five movies, also made by 20th Century Fox, were released from 1968 to 1973. If you're like me, knowing that a series of movies were made in the 70's definitely sets off a number of warning bells. They just have a very specific feel to them that I don't particularly care for. But, we decided to go ahead with the series anyway.
The first film, Planet of the Apes, was wonderful. After reading more about the movies, though, I can't say I'm surprised. The script was originally written by Rod Serling, who is famous for the Twilight Zone television show, which happens to be one of my favorites.
It begins with astronauts Taylor, Landon, and Dodge crash landing on a strange planet, thousands of years ahead of when they had lived on Earth. They begin exploring this new world, and are soon attacked by a number of gorillas. Dodge is killed immediately, Landon is knocked unconscious, and Taylor - the star of the film - is shot in the throat, but still alive.
We do not see Landon until much later in the movie, and instead follow Taylor as he is moved to a scientific lab, where we meet the chimpanzee scientist, Zira, and her fiancé, Cornelius. Zira takes an immediate interest in Taylor, who she names "Bright Eyes", until his throat heals and he is able to speak with her, giving his actual name. It is also Zira that introduces him to his mate, Nova.
This is when Doctor Zaius, an orangutan, comes into the movie full force. He does not want news of Taylor's appearance in the city to spread, and even goes as far to discredit his story by lining up a number of men who were captured alongside of Taylor, asking him if he had traveled with any of the men. Landon, the man who was otherwise absent from the film, is indeed in the group, but will not speak up for Taylor, or in fact do anything, thanks to a lobotomy we can guess was done by Dr. Zaius.
Taylor is thrown back into a cage, as he is now considered a mad animal, but is soon rescued by Zira and Cornelius. They head toward the Forbidden Lands, which supposedly has ancient artifacts of human life, but there is no sign of ancient ape life. Dr. Zaius catches up to them, and explores the area as well, upset to find that Taylor knows what each of the objects are in the ruin, including their function. From here, Taylor and Nova escape deeper into the Forbidden Lands, leaving Zira, Cornelius, and Dr. Zaius in their own city.
It really was a fantastic movie, and I would certainly recommend seeing it if you haven't already. I'll likely be watching the second film in the series, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, tomorrow, but a new review/overview will likely not come up for another week. I think a new post will come up every Friday, just so you aren't bombarded with talk of Planet of the Apes.