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Sunday, August 28, 2011

My review of Planet of the Apes

Acting/characters: I generally like Charlton Heston but I do feel that can slip into overacting sometimes. But he was pretty good in this one. Roddy McDowell, Kim Hunter, and Maurice Evans were pretty good too. They would have to be as those four actors (most Charlton Heston) had to carry the whole film. They were all pretty good in their roles. There weren't any other characters that had very much screen time or speaking parts. The characters were pretty good I thought. I actually felt that I related a bit more to some of the ape characters as opposed to the human one. Maybe that's just Charlton Heston. But it was pretty good. 9/10

Plot: It is at heart an anti-cold war film I think. I can't go into more detail than that without spoiling some major plot points but those who have seen it can agree or not. One thing I highly disliked is that it seemed to be very anti-religion. In this film religion and science clash (they don't have to for goodness sakes!) with the religious leaders portrayed as nasty hypocrites and the scientific apes portrayed more sympathetically. However, that aside, I did like the plot overall. It was a very interesting plot that kept my attention and I liked how it kept certain things from the audience. It never completely explained what was going on with the apes until the very end which I feel keeps the audience interested. They did a good job. Plus the ending was really good. 8.5/10

Screenplay: "Get your stinking paws off of me you damned dirty ape!" Everyone knows that line. It was ranked as one of the most famous by the AFI. It rarely had lines that I didn't like. It was thought provoking. It asked the question 'what is intelligence'? It did so in such a way that it wasn't all in your face about it. It just kinda mentioned it and left you to think about it on your own. I liked that. But the anti-religion/pro-science stuff could get a little in your face at times which I don't like so much. But it wasn't too frequent and didn't distract from the story that the film was trying to tell which was nice. 9/10

Likableness: Again, aside from the anti-religion/pro-science stuff it was a very engaging and likable film. It had a very interesting plot and it told the story it wanted to very effectively. It wasn't a perfect film but it is one that I wouldn't mind watching now and again. The makeup was also really good for 1968 (it won an honorary Oscar after all) and I think it still holds up a bit even today. it is definitely a classic film that I would suggest to anyone who has not seen it. Charlton Heston overacted a bit here and there but he did a good job overall. It was a pretty good film. 9.5/10

Final Score: 36/40 90% (N)
Tomatometer rating: 89%
Tomatometer rating if my review was added: 89%

TRIVIA TIME: 1. During breaks in filming, actors made up as different ape species tended to hang out together, gorillas with gorillas, orangutans with orangutans, chimps with chimps. It wasn't required, it just naturally happened.

2. Charlton Heston was sick during much of the film with the flu. Rather than wait for him to get better, the producers felt that his hoarse voice added something to the character of Taylor. According to Heston's diary, after filming the scene where Taylor and Nova are forcibly separated, he wrote that he was feeling like hell while shooting because of his illness, and felt even worse "every time that damn fire hose hit me".

3. One of the first films to have a major large scale merchandising tie-in. Merchandise related to the film included toys and collectibles, action figures, picture and story books, trading card sets, books, records, comics and a series of graphic novels from Marvel Comics.

4. Turning down the part of Zira was one of Ingrid Bergman's greatest regrets. Much surprised at how well the finished film turned out, she later confided to her daughter Isabella Rossellini that in hindsight the film would have been an ideal opportunity for her to "disregard her regal bearing". She also regretted missing the opportunity of working with Charlton Heston.

5. Linda Harrison, who plays Nova, was having an affair with producer Richard D. Zanuck at the time of production. In the year of the film's release, Zanuck divorced his first wife and married Harrison. The couple were married for 9 years and had 2 children. Linda Harrison was pregnant with producer Richard D. Zanuck's child and was starting to show towards the end of the shoot which required careful posing on her part to conceal it.

6. John Chambers' outstanding makeup technique pioneered in the film was based upon one technique he had used during World War II to give disfigured veterans a normal appearance. Chambers spent many hours watching the apes at Los Angeles Zoo, studying their facial expressions. Several other productions were delayed due to the fact that many of Hollywood's top make up artists were working on this film. Leftover makeup supplies were later used on actor Michael Conrad, playing an ape-like alien in Fugitives in Space. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave Chambers a special award for makeup (which was not an Oscar category until 1981) for this achievement, in the second time that a make-up artist received an Academy Award. William Tuttle was the first, with 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. Chambers' award was presented by Walter Matthau and a chimpanzee in a tuxedo.

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