Thursday, 22 December 2011

Pre-Christmas Movie Marathon: Planet of the Apes Saga (1968-1973)

I'm thinking what better way to get ready for Christmas than a good old, epic modern society extinction saga, so I'm kicking off a pre-xmas Planet of the Apes marathon! All five films from the original series watched before the 25th. Chimply wonderful!

Disclaimer: This marathon excludes the Tim Burton film and the recent Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Original Apes and Roddy McDowell only!

First up, Planet of the Apes, the film that made us wary of apes walking upright. Actually, it's based on a book - La Planète des Singes by Pierre Bouelle - which too is great! Plapes, as I'm now affectionately dubbing it, is for me an example of a  perfect film. I love it so much! Starting strong with the arresting opening sequences, the well paced middle, the script, the cigar smoking unkempt hairy America-hating antihero and that ending. Even in just this film, the backstory feels well thought out. It makes me want to study a BA in The History of Apes. I doubt UCA offers such a course. 

Plapes was released the same year (1968) as another perfect sci-fi film  2001: A Space Oddysey, both of which are remarkable films that deal with the nature of 'humanity'  and our projected course in life. One does it with modernist set design, hallucinogenic visuals, sparse dialogue and lush a soundtrack. The other by dressing up men and women as wise looking Orangutans and making sure to always have a topless and sweaty Charlton Heston on screen.  Somehow both methods are equally valid ways of arguing a point.

Next up is the first sequel of four - Beneath the Planet of the Apes, a film with a slightly mediocre reputation. I've only seen it the one time on tele when I was too young and thus too stupid to really grasp it. Let's hope I don't start slinging my faeces round the room in fits of rage.