Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Director: Ted Post
Starring: James Franciscus, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans

A second space mission follows the same course as Taylor's and the sole survivor searches for Taylor's whereabouts while a militant gorilla general agitates for an invasion of the Forbidden Zone.

A sequel to Planet of the Apes wasn't exactly wanted by all parties and this is made rather clear by Charlton Heston's reduced role. The same budget wasn't there, as evidenced by the prosthetics budget being used up on the principal ape characters and the rest looking rather shoddy (the big group shots being particularly painful). James Franciscus was cast as the character of Bret in part due to his faint resemblance to Charlton Heston and maybe that adds to the sense that he's a poor knockoff. (In his defense, the character is somewhat distinct and Franciscus does well enough with what he's given.) I commented in my review of the first film that the social commentary was a bit heavy-handed. Here it's even clumsier. The new faction introduced feels downright parodical (though I'll admit they're sufficiently creepy). I saw the end of this movie as a child and being rather precocious, I had an appreciation for the import of the final narration and I found it terrifying. In fact, it took years for me to even look at the Planet of the Apes parody section of Spaceballs because the image of the apes was so entwined with my fear. Why do I bring this up? I dunno. Maybe to warn you to not let your kids watch this movie. ^_^; For adults who can handle a grimdark ending, while this is inferior to the original, it's still worth a watch.

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