Monday, May 31, 2010
Back to the Apes, Part II
I can't say enough about how much I Heart my new Planet of the Apes Blu Ray Collection. I Heart it so much I bought one for my Mom for Mother's Day. Probably what I Heart even more than the Collection itself is the fact that I have a Mother who actually wanted it for Mother's Day - and who spent half a day looking for someone at work to tell about it - who would appreciate it.
She ended up finding a co-worker (another woman - how awesome!) who not only appreciated it but told my Mom stories about how she and her siblings would play 'Planet of the Apes' when they were kids. So, yes, us girls that heart on the Apes, we are out here, and we will kick you in the ding-ding if you hate on our monkey movies.
As much as I love these movies, I've always had kind of a 'blah' spot in my heart for Part II, Beneath the Planet of the Apes. For me, as a kid, it was the Tuesday movie during Ape Week, the one you had to get through to make it to my stone cold guilty pleasure favorite, Escape From the Planet of the Apes.
Beneath kind of disturbed me as a kid - it didn't really scare me as much as the freaky white people living underground just grossed me out. They literally made me nauseous, and when I think back to my childhood memories of this movie, they're almost always accompanied by a queasy feeling in my stomach. So I've always had a 'take or leave it' philosophy towards this movie.
So I decided I'd just 'get it over with' and watch Part II. And then I found that my memories of the movie were not quite accurate. For one thing, most of the movie does NOT take place underground (which I thought it did), and there's actually more Ape City action than I remembered. Also what I did not remember is that Cornelius and Zira have a very small role, and Cornelius is not played by Roddy McDowall. Which is not because Mr McDowall was too high-falutin' to strap the monkey suit back on, but had previous commitments that prevented him from taking the role. (Thanks, Special Features!)
BTW - in the other 'Thanks But No Thanks' Category of Special Features, the documentary on POTA points out that the special effects budget was cut on Part II, which led to a lot of inferior makeups in the background. Which - once you're aware of this, you can't help but notice. Like all the time.
Anyway......BTPOTA is, for the first half,, basically a remake of POTA. Astronaut crashes, other astronauts die, astronaut finds Nova and then talking monkeys, astronaut gets captured... you get the drill. Adding to the remake feel is our star James Franciscus, who, in my opinion, is basically Charlton Heston Lite. You know, it's made to taste similar but with half the cheese.
So 'Chuck MC Lyte' Franciscus runs around Ape City, gettin' into scrapes and making friends with Corn and Zira. He's also looking for 'Chuck Original Recipe' Heston at the same time. Nova is not a lot of help, since she can't speak, but she can drag Chuck Lyte around to all the important places, including the place that Taylor disappeared.
And it turns out that place is underground, in the old New York Subway, with the weird creepy bald people that make my stomach hurt. Probably the last part of this movie that I really enjoy is the time that James Franciscus and Linda Harrison spend exploring the location. Then the baldies who worship the Big Bomb come in the picture, and it's just okay for me after that.
Then Voila! Our Friend Chuck returns for the ending just in time to wrestle James Franciscus (which, if you think about it, is just about as awesome as the Elvis vs Elvis fight in Kissin' Cousins).
and curse out the Bad Monkeys again before he blows all the shit up.
I don't feel that I'm giving anything away here - even with a big ole bomb, the ending of this movie is just about as anti-climactic as they come. It's literally over with a peep. The End, now bring on the FUN one with Zira and Cornelius (Roddy McDowall's Back! Yay!) and Victor from Young and the Restless.
And that's about all Mother has to say about Part II. The film does look gorgeous on Blu Ray, and I did enjoy most of the movie, even if it is just a remake of the first one. I'll definitely include it in the next time I decide to watch all the films, even if I do turn it off right about the time of the 'Chuck vs Chuck 2.0' smackdown.
Till next time, Dearhearts, when we dive in and swim around in the guilty cheese fest that is Escape From the Planet of the Apes,