The world is shocked by the appearance of three talking chimpanzees, who arrived mysteriously in a U.S. spacecraft. They become the toast of society, but one man believes them to be a threat to the human race.
In a futuristic world that has embraced ape slavery, Caesar, the son of the late simians Cornelius and Zira, surfaces after almost twenty years of hiding out from the authorities, and prepares for a slave revolt against humanity.
J. Lee Thompson
One decade after a worldwide series of ape revolutions and a brutal nuclear war among humans, Caesar must protect survivors of both species from an insidious human cult and a militant ape faction alike.
J. Lee Thompson
Brent is an American astronaut, part of a team sent to locate missing fellow American astronaut, George Taylor. Following Taylor's known flight trajectory, the search and rescue team crash lands on an unknown planet much like Earth in the year 3955, with Brent being the only survivor of the team. What Brent initially does not know, much like Taylor didn't initially know when he landed here before Brent, is that he has landed back on Earth in the future, in the vicinity of what was New York City. Brent finds evidence that Taylor has been on the planet. In Brent's search for Taylor, he finds that the planet is run by a barbaric race of English speaking apes, whose mission is in part to annihilate the human race. Brent eventually locates some of those humans, who communicate telepathically and who live underground to prevent detection by the apes. These humans, who are in their own way as barbaric as the apes, want in turn to protect their species. Brent has to figure out a way to save ... Written by
[reads from the holy scripts]
"Beware the beast man, for he is the devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home, and yours. Shun him... for he is the harbinger of death."
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I guess you could say that this first sequel to PLANET OF THE APES is a nostalgic pleasure for me; I got hooked on it as a child and while I still think it's an interesting followup to the original, as an adult I'm naturally more aware of its flaws. Yet it still works out as a good adventure film; less of a cerebral experience like PLANET OF THE APES, and more of a comic book story.
James Franciscus plays astronaut Brent, sent along the same trajectory as Taylor's (Charlton Heston's) old ship in an effort to rescue him. He crash-lands in the same vicinity as his friend, and goes through a similar nightmare when he comes to discover that the planet he's stranded on is dominated by intelligent, talking apes with a decidedly low opinion of mankind. General Ursus (James Gregory) is a war-hungry gorilla leader who's anxious to investigate strange unearthly occurrences in the Forbidden Zone with the aid of the ever-skeptical scientist Dr. Zaius (Maurice Evans in a reprisal of his role from Part One). Luckily, Brent runs into Taylor's mate, Nova (Linda Harrison looking prettier than she did in PLANET) and she is able to lead him to kindly chimpanzee couple, Zira (Kim Hunter) and Cornelius (David Watson this time; Roddy McDowall was busy directing a film). The pacifistic simians try to help their human friends along their journey to find Taylor, but Brent and Nova only succeed in getting themselves captured by gorillas anyway.
Up to this midway point in the film, all we're really seeing is a rehash of the first APES movie, which feels obligatory to set up the scenario. Where this chapter starts to develop its own identity and really take off is in its second half, as Brent and Nova escape and find themselves going underground (literally) in the Forbidden Zone and discovering the ruins of a ravaged city, along with a community of radiation-scarred mutations who have mastered mental telepathy and worship an atomic bomb as their god who has "created" them. And they know it won't be long before the Ape Army will invade their sanctuary.
Charlton Heston felt that sequels were not very challenging for an actor in those days, so at first he resisted appearing in this movie. He eventually agreed on what gradually evolved into a more extended "cameo" in BENEATH as a favor to Richard Zanuck, since the producer had taken a gamble on making the original film when Heston asked him to. The resulting sequel can be a downbeat and unusually pessimistic viewing experience, but in an odd way that actually helps to work in its favor. The next entry was ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES (1971).
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