25 July 2017

Boning Up: Beneath The Planet Of The Apes

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Spoilers All The Way Through

What's the story?

Another astronaut lands on the planet after following in the path of Charlton Heston's character. In keeping with this he essentially does everything we saw Heston do in the first movie. But shitter. Because he's not Charlton Heston. Meanwhile the apes decide to march into the Forbidden Zone to kill whatever shit happens to be living there. I'm not sure why. I guess there's no point giving a monkey a gun if you're not then going to make him shoot something. Predictably, what is living there is a small coven of psychic humans that worship a nuclear bomb. So obvious! Anyway, shit goes down.. Heston sets the nuke and the film ends with everybody and everything on the planet dead. I literally have no fucking clue where they're going to go with the sequel.

What's the subtext?

Well, if man's love of nuclear explosives and the ultimate destruction of the world is a clue, then I'm going to suggest there's an anti-nuclear bomb message here. Also, a group of student apes are protesting against the actions of their soldiers in a not-so-subtle reference to the war in Vietnam. I didn't look close enough but if one of the apes signs didn't say “Enough Of This Gorilla War” then I hope the person responsible never worked in Hollywood again.

What's the best bit of the film?

Without a doubt it's the scene in which the psychic underground humans are worshipping a nuclear bomb and singing hymns that quite literally contain the lyrics, “Almighty Bomb who destroyed all devils and created angels, behold his glory”. They then all rip off their faces that turn out to have been masks, revealing themselves to be a gang of skinless, veiny mutants. They literally look like a bell-end with eyes. Then they sing “All creatures great and small”.

What's the worst bit of the film?

I suppose it's the entire first half in which we're treated to a complete retread of the first movie with James Franciscus as The Second Astronaut to Land, and presumably a part-time Charlton Heston look-a-like. Also.. some of the ape make-up isn't quite as good in this movie. There are at least a couple of crowd scenes in which half of the audience like they they're performing some sort of monkey tribute to Leatherface.

What's the best line?

As a hardcore misanthrope, it's pretty hard for me to find a line that I enjoyed much more than...
“The only good human is a dead human”

Is it actually worth a watch?

Did you read that shit about the psychic mutants? Yes... it's worth a watch!

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