Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever you wonder where Charlton Heston is

Take a Drink: for speechifyin’

Take a Drink: for anti-militaristic sentiment

Take a Drink: for ape racism

Take a Drink: for… unmasking

Do a Shot: when the film goes… beneath

Do a Shot: Boom!

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –

A scant two years after Planet of the Apes, the series returned with Beneath the Planet of the Apes, but that’s practically glacial compared to the next three sequels, one a year until 1973.  So why does this one feel like arguably the cheapest cash-in (vs. Battle of the Planet of the Apes, of course)?

In Beneath, a rescue mission sent after Heston’s once again crashes on the Planet of the Apes, once again pitting a blonde, blue-eyed astronaut (James Franciscus) against its ape overlords, but this time he also has to track down the missing Heston.  His search takes him to some… weird places.

A Toast

Well… Linda Harrison is as hot a mute plot catalyst as ever.

linda-planet-of-the-apes

I’m acting!

Okay, to be fair, Beneath does have some good things going for it.  Kim Hunter and to a lesser extent Maurice Evans reprise their roles well, growing more comfortable in their performances, and James Gregory is an admittedly hammy yet welcome presence as the warlike gorilla General Ursus.

What really salvages the film, though, is how bugfuck crazy things get when the film goes… beneath.  It turns out some humans have survived as… a psychic nuclear bomb-worshipping doomsday cult? Awesome.  The melted New York set design is a really cool change of pace, and as silly as things get, you can’t call them boring, right up to a ridiculous finale that is literally as bleak as it can be.

Beer Two

Franciscus is no Charlton Heston, despite the physical resemblance, and even though he’s not terrible exactly, it’s unavoidably disappointing to be stuck with him when the beginning of the film leads us to believe this is a direct continuation of Heston’s story.

james-franciscus-beneath-planet-apes

Who needs Heston when the world is full of bristle-bearded white boys?

Beer Three

Since the film deals with a whole new person thrust into this alien world, of course they’re going to have to make some of the same adjustments.  However, Beneath bizarrely covers too much (Apes to Franciscus: “You can talk?!”) and not enough (he sure handles all this well) of the same territory.

Beer Four

This film is both cheaper and cheesier than the original in many respects.  It doubles down on the anti-war bent of the first, but in the hammiest way possible.  There are even ape student demonstrations.

beneathprotest

No ape hippies, though, which feels like a missed opportunity.

Also, the special effects budget took a nosedive.  One effects-heavy scene near the beginning packs in more cheese than a Wisconsin State Fair Beauty Queen.

Verdict

Beneath the Planet of the Apes feels like an undercooked attempt at capitalizing on the perhaps unexpected success of the original, but does get its act together for a wonderfully weird, impressively dark final act.

a4Beers

About Henry J. Fromage

Movieboozer is a humor website and drinking games are intended for entertainment purposes only, please drink responsibly.

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