Posted in: Reviews, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

Re-watch of the Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes DVDs
Planet of the Apes DVDs

I just finished watching all five of the classic Planet of the Apes movies using the Legacy Collection of DVDs. I had originally started this watch through several months ago when I was prepping for the Apes Victorious entry in the Character Creation Challenge.

I remember watching the different shows when they were shown on the mid-Saturday movie time slot on KSTU (back when they were still channel 20 on the dial). They were show in different order, but I just remember being enthralled by the thought of a “planet of talking apes”. This was what science fiction was, the whole “What If” scenario. Sometimes and idea pops up and says “What if there was a planet populated by talking apes?” Not only did this make for an entertaining series of movies, but a good set of comic books as well. I’ve always felt that this would be an excellent world to conduct role-playing sessions in. That was part of the reason I was interested in Apes Victorious when I saw it on DriveThruRPG.

The disks in this Legacy Collection included the following.

Planet of the Apes (1968)- The original movie that started it all. Several astronauts returning from a long journey crash land on a desolate planet. After several days of traveling through wastelands they discover mute humans being hunted by intelligent apes. These apes are divided into several categories. The warlike gorillas, the chimp scientists and the orangutan leaders. I still enjoy watching this film when I can. The ways that the actors are still able to portray their art through the makeup still astounds me.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)- A second set of astronauts searching for the first group find the planet. Following the path (and meeting the same characters from the first movie) our heroes discover that a race of mutant survivors with physic powers live under the surface of the destroyed city. While some of the special effects look a little dated, the plot works. This was originally going to be the end of the series.

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)- Three apes (two of which we know from the earlier films) use one of the spacecraft used by humans and accidentally get sent back to the current time. The apes are treated like celebrities until human fear of their unborn child takes over. It was good to see Ricardo Montalban. The way the apes got back into the past seemed a little “whoops how do we get out of this corner we’ve painted.” but otherwise a good film.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)- The child of the two talking apes returns to see what is happening to the other apes that are trained by the humans to do subservient tasks. How far can they be pushed? An interesting uprising film. The ending was a little weird, but I understand that they changed it at the last minute.

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)- Set a few years after the events of Conquest, Caesar is trying to create a community with apes and humans living side by side. But what happens when old grudges arise from both inside and outside of Ape City? This was an interesting ending to the series. I thought I had recognized singer Paul Williams as one of the orangutans.

Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998)- A very good behind the scenes documentary hosted by Roddy McDowall showing the legacy of the five classic films and the impact that they have had on society. It also talks about the animated series, the TV series and the merchandising.

This DVD set is an excellent resource if anyone wants to role-play in this universe. I only wish that it also contained the TV series and animated series. There are also a series of comics from Malibu Comics and Boom Studios that would also be invaluable for Ape Masters (Game Masters). Proof that there are more stories to tell in the Planet of the Apes universe.