Film Review: Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Beneath-The-Planet-of-the-Apes1

This first Planet of the Apes sequel is a mixed bag, but I find it more interesting than flawed.  The first half of the movie is an uninspired retread of the first film, with James Franciscus replacing Charlton Heston as the main character.  I like Franciscus.  He manages to convey bewilderment and horror without overacting the way Heston did. Franciscus makes the rising action a little more tolerable that it might have been otherwise.

The movie starts to distinguish itself at the halfway point, when Franciscus and sexy, mute Nova (Linda Harrison) stumble upon the underground ruins of New York city.  There they find a telepathic cult of religious fanatics who worship a radioactive bomb.  For whatever reason, I dig the shit out of this concept – perhaps enough to overlook the film’s other weaknesses. I even dig the abrupt and audacious ending.

Kim Hunter returns as Zira and Heston reprises his original role, but only appears in the beginning and end.  Roddy McDowall was unavailable for the filming (directing his own film, Tam Lin), so Cornelius is played by David Watson this time around.

Rating: 2.75/5 ★★¾☆☆ 

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About Scott_S

Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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