For me seeing the new apes movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was not a choice but an obligation. When the original Planet of the Apes film with Charlton Heston premiered in 1968 I was around 14 years old. I sat in the Plaza Theater in Paterson, NJ and was transported to a world that held me by my heart and soul. I had chills when the character “Taylor” played by Mr. Heston uttered the words, “Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape.” And those chills were intensified with the ending of the movie – seeing the remains of the Statue of Liberty on the sandy beach. It’s an iconic moment in American film history. I walked out of the theater in a daze. To this day, I do not remember if I saw the film with anyone else. That movie cemented a relationship with the soon-to-be-made franchise. I bought a hardcover of the original novel written by French author Pierre Boulle, also author of The Bridge over the River Kwai. For a 14 year old to purchase a hardcover of a book displays the respect I had for the material. The novel was different than the movie, but it was just as perfect.
After the original film premiered I was first on line for everything that followed – Beneath the Planet…., Escape from the Planet…., Conquest of the Planet…., and finally Battle for the Planet….. Nothing equaled the original, but the movies were entertaining. Sometime in the 1970s a close friend and myself sat through a marathon of the 5 films at the Plaza theater. A bland TV followed in 1974, comic books (not interested) and the Tim Burton remake in 2001. I’d lump Burton’s remake with the sequels, entertaining but nothing special.
I don’t remember the year, but sometime between 2000 and 2009 the original Planet of the Apes film was playing at the Lafayette theater in Suffern, NY. The theater had a sci-fi movie weekend with the Heston movie being one of the films shown. Also present at the showing was Linda Harrison, aka “Nova”. It was a fan’s dream to see and hear Ms. Harrison reminisce about the making of the movie.
Back to the new film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was entertaining, more so than some of the other sequels. There were plenty of references to the original – some subtle, some not. I don’t remember the reason given in Conquest of the Planet for the rise of the apes intelligence, been a long time since I’ve seen it, but the logic in the new movie was very good, in my opinion. My only real qualm was the ending of the movie. It contradicts the original story, how the apes became the dominant species, and I didn’t see any real reason to change it.
Regarding the photo above – that’s my wife and I. It has nothing to do with the apes movies. I also love comedy and the Three Stooges, and as any student of film comedy will say, gorilla costumes are part of that history. I thought that it was time me for to be a stooge.