Science Fiction Films discussion

Planet of the Apes

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message 1: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Sarah Palin is Dr. Zaius. Just sayin.

A terrific movie, very much a product of its time, but still and always relevant. I really should see it again, it has been a while. The theocratic suppression of science on display is just plain chilling.

message 2: by Tom (last edited Nov 04, 2008 11:09AM) (new)

Tom | 166 comments Huh, that's an interesting take on it, I guess. I don't think it is the truth that is the problem, but what is done with that truth. I can't believe that the film is in any way endorsing Zaius and his actions.

message 3: by Angie (new)

Angie I haven't seen this version though I have seen the remake and that turned me off from any planet of the apes. But I am going to give this one a shot! On hold at the library!

message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I loved it & remember seeing it in the drive-in movie theater when it first came out. Later, I remember sitting in a movie theater all day as they played all 5 of them back to back with my cousins. Whew! I couldn't do that today. My stomach still hurts from orange soda, Junior Mints & Popcorn.

Religion is always conservative - not necessarily a bad thing - but counter-productive when taken to extremes & theocracies are always an extreme, IMO. Science & curiosity are often too liberal & generally blind to the consequences of their actions, which they often can't help, since foresight isn't 20/20 (Pandora's Box). The balance of the two is tight rope we've walked our entire history.

Once technology gets to a certain point, repression is silly. Up to that point, it can help. For instance, remember the how freaked out everyone was when a college student published how to make an atomic bomb. The method was classified, but technology had caught up to the point where it didn't matter. There was enough basic knowledge to make the point moot. That was Zaius' problem. The great truths were revealed & he was still trying to cover them up - a frustrating & losing battle.

Religion, custom & habit are brakes on our burgeoning science & curiosity. Hopefully they allow society to catch up before something too wicked breaks loose. If you remember hiding during air raid drills during the Cold War, you'll know what I mean. It was a nervous time & made the end of mankind, as portrayed in this movie & the third, seem all too real & easy.

message 5: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
This is one of my favorite films and I am anxiously awaiting the Blu-ray. I will post my review in a few days. Don't forget the chilling score by Jerry Goldsmith!

message 6: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Cool, thanks for clarifying, Rob.

message 7: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 144 comments One of my favorite Sci-fi films.
I only wish Rod Serling had done some basic anthropology research before writing the script and storyline.

In all the movies; the chimpanzees are portrayed as the most peaceful and scholarly of the great apes; while at the same time, the gorillas are shown as the more agressive and warlike primates. In actuality, the reverse is the case.

Chimpanzees are very agressive and cruel. They have been known to kill their own species and even eat young chimps from other groups. Gorillas on the other hand are very gentle and passive. Yes they will be agressive during courtship behavior with other males, but they are very very kind for the most part.

Despite the plothole regarding Anthropology; this is still a wonderful movie. It brings up many issues concerning what is civilized behavior. Charlton Heston's Taylor is unforgetable as the sociopathetic astronaut looking for something better than chaos he left behind on Earth. Ironically,its only when he discovers the upside down society of apes as rulers, that he misses his life on Earth.

By far; the movie with one of the best and most memerable endings in sci-fi or cinema history.
Much more powerful than the original ending as written by Pierre Boulle. Ironically the remake is much truer to Boulle's ending, but not nearly as shocking as the 1968 version.

It has always saddened me that with each subsequent movie, the budget was cut in half from what was spent on the previous movie. Consequently the special effects are less specacular (look at the makeup of the apes in the audience in the amphitheatre in Beneath the Planet of the Apes) With each subsequent film the movies kept getting more and more silly. Finally in the last chapter the movie has been geared specifically towards children with dialogue that still makes me wince when I hear it.

One of the ammusing facts about "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" is how the leftover New York City sets from "Hello Dolly" were recyled for the post apocalypic New York of the future. Its fun to try to pick out where they come up in the movie.

message 8: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Nov 04, 2008 05:25PM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
The plot hole that always stuck out to me was that the apes...were speaking English! What are the chances of that if you've landed on an alien planet?? I really like the 4th film that is a metaphor concerning the rioting Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties, and still applicable today.

message 9: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) "In all the movies; the chimpanzees are portrayed as the most peaceful and scholarly of the great apes; while at the same time, the gorillas are shown as the more agressive and warlike primates. In actuality, the reverse is the case."

I freely admit I know next to nothing about this movie, but is it possible that this choice was made intentionally?

If everything that we know is "upside down", why not flip the social behaviors we would expect as well?

message 10: by Terence (new)

Terence (spocksbro) Truly an iconic film of my youth.

The most affecting thing I find about the film is that for the first 30 minutes, if not longer, you don't even see the apes. Then all you see is the waving grass as "something" herds the humans toward the cliff. And then they finally emerge, athwart their steeds and waving their rifles.

message 11: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments In the novel they speak French.

message 12: by George (new)

George | 63 comments Well, of course, that was Lord Greystokes first spoken human language as well.

message 13: by Manuel (last edited Nov 05, 2008 04:55PM) (new)

Manuel | 144 comments Oh well, at least in Tim Burton's version, they mixed up the species, so we have good and bad Gorillas, Chimps and Orangutans; they arent all segretagated as in the 1968 version.

Alex brought of the plot hole of apes speaking English.

Here is another plot hole
I would have thought the sight of the Moon would still be recognizable after 2000 years, not to mention the constellations of the stars.

They did mention something about strange luminosity in the sky when they were walking in the Forbidden Zone, but it looked as if it had cleared up when they were in the inhabited areas of the apes.
An astronaut of all people, should have recognized the night sky of Earth.

message 14: by Tom (last edited Nov 06, 2008 06:07AM) (new)

Tom | 166 comments It is interesting what people will be okay with in a movie/story:

Talking apes, time warps = no problem.

Talking apes speaking English = plot hole.

message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Suspension of belief only goes so far & doesn't always make logical sense. My family & I will often read the same books & have differing opinions on how good they are because of it. When the author takes it one step too far, it loses some of us, doesn't bother others.

I can see where some people would appreciate it if the apes didn't speak English or French. Neither language is formed for their physiology nor likely matches their psychology. Language should have been a barrier, with the humans learning the Apes language.

The language struggle would have added significantly to the size of the book/movie &, while it could have added to the story, it wasn't really needed. The point was well made without including it. Personally, I can live with the shortcut & appreciate it.

message 16: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) I'm with you on that Jim, I think a protracted issue with language would have taken away from the main points of the story, and would have been a waste of significant time in the movie. I wouldn't have wanted to sit through 20 minutes of the movie where they show him learning the ape's language so that *then* we can get on with the story. I'm fine with the shortcut to English too.

Rob - I own the DVD set too - I've loved these movies for years! I think I first saw them at a very young age because I remember having a series of nightmares about them for years (like from about 6-12 years of age.)

Anyways, one of the scenes from the first movie that had a significant impact on me (at a young age) was the experimental surgery done on the other astronaut, which effectively lobotomized him. Also the cutting out of tongues of the humans who tried to speak. urgh! I am still very against using the higher animals (any primates or cetaceans, etc.) for medical research like this. Add the Uptide Rising books by David Brin and that pretty much ties up my thoughts about the [future:] sentience of these species.

Another scene, from BPotA that resonates with me still is of the apes worshipping at the altar of the nuclear bomb. There are so many levels to that one - is it a statement on organized religion or on science-as-religion? Each viewer can reach their own conclusion.

These films are wonderful, mostly because because of how thought-provoking they are on so many topics.

message 17: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
Great discussions friends!! That's why I created this forum, to enter into dialogue about serious issues in science fiction films. This film is often overlooked by serious critics but I think it should be dissected...and vivisected. Though the series devolved I think the other films still carried some serious metaphors: like Carolyn mentioned, the worshipping of the bomb, or the rise of "Ape Power" in the 4th film. I can hear John Lennon singing now: 'Power to the Simians...right on!"

message 18: by Phillip (new)

Phillip hells yeah. this movie rules.

message 19: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 342 comments Mod
PLANET OF THE APES (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1968, USA) The modern family of Hominidae or Great Apes consists of orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees…and humans. From the nuclear ashes of the Forbidden Zone a new higher primate evolves, ruled by a Theocratic tyranny whose absolute power is contained in the sacred scrolls of an imaginary god. This Oxymoronic society condemns Scientific Heresy with imprisonment or the death sentence, punishment passed by the supreme Lawgiver Dr. Zaius without recourse to proper Due Process or Appeal. This religious government will hear no evil, speak no evil, and see no evil; this is faith at the cost of reason. This society is doomed without the appearance of the “Anti-Ape”, a talking human named Taylor, who ignites the fires of censorship and repression. Why not use his knowledge to create new vaccines, advance medicinal science, to prolong the quality of life, to be the architect of a new age of Enlightenment? This culture is already violent and askew, their technology used for better weaponry and mastery, the gorillas like a elite Nazi SS police force, with their jackboots and Billy clubs: Dr. Zaius is the Architect of Fear, he holds power by keeping other powerless; he is the true heir of the 21st Century. Taylor represents the bottom-rung of the topsy-turvy evolutionary ladder and in this madhouse discovers the inexorable Truth, the iconic image of a twisted and misshapen Lady Liberty, shackled forever in a rocky tomb, her torch doused by the atomic apocalypse: he is home. We must suspend our disbelief to enter the narrative’s vortex; for example, the apes speak English, evolution from Homo Sapiens’s common ancestry would take millions of years and not the few thousand the story professes, and I can’t conceive of a scientific mission whose objective is to repopulate an alien world by sending three men and one woman. That aside, the film veers slightly towards camp with Heston’s square-jawed one-liners and classic overacting but is saved by its irreverent humor and subtext. Director Franklin Schaffner uses John Ford like vistas to shrink and dehumanize the stranded astronauts amid the bleak landscape creating a sense of physical isolation at war with their emotional claustrophobia. The first appearance of the apes on horseback, emerging from the tall cornstalks wielding rifles and nets is frightening: these images are punctuated by Jerry Goldsmith’s otherworldly music, a mixture of anxious percussion and strings, and this remains one of cinema’s most unusual scores. Taylor’s profound curse as he claws futilely at the sand is drowned out by the crashing surf and becomes a nihilistic crescendo of pathos. (A)

message 20: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 144 comments In the book, the apes are living in an advanced society, similar to 20th century earth.
However that would have made the film too expensive to make.

message 21: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) I remember seeing the original when I was very young and loving the movie, not understanding a lot of the nuances. I do remember the segregation and believing that to be intentional. I have wanted to see the original again.

I agree that the remakes are awful which has turned me off. BUT the worse insult is using those stupid ape men in the GEICO commercials. Is anyone as angry as I am with that? The original is such a classic, I just shake my head in wonder.

message 22: by George (new)

George | 63 comments I remember wondering at the time on this in Planet of the Apes, if they were trying to say prejudice and racism, although here speciesism I suppose, are innate.

message 23: by Tom (new)

Tom | 166 comments Meg, what do the cavemen in the GEICO ads have to do with PLANET OF THE APES? I don't see the connection.

message 24: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) I believe that the ape men are taken from the planets of the apes.

message 25: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) They are cavemen. The commercial is based on the fact that they get offended by Geico's tagline: "So easy a caveman can do it!"

Because cavemen are smarter than they are given credit for, apparently. ;)

message 26: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) Hanging my head in shame.............

message 27: by Phillip (new)

Phillip some guys have all the luck.

message 28: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I not only have the 5 disc collectors set of movies, I also have the series on DVD. I was completely plagued with nightmares from these movies as a child. So, logically :) they are my absolute favorites now! I watch them over and over.

I, like a few others, think the species of apes being segregated is intentional. Not only are they seperated by species, but each species has a different function in society. They are all dependant on each other, which keep any of them from taking over the others. A bit like the 3 branches of government.

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