Take a Drink: for looks of shock or surprise
Take a Drink: whenever Zira snaps on somebody
Take a Drink: for “Colonel Taylor”
Take a Drink: for “grape-plus”
Take a Drink: for philosophical debates
Do a Shot: for roofies
Do a Shot: Ricardo Montalban!
Do a Shot: RIP, ape
By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
One thing that the Planet of the Apes series has proven itself quite adept at is working around any obstacles, critical or plot-wise, that would seem to preclude another sequel.
As always, money finds a way.
Escape from the Planet of the Apes has to deal with both factors, and largely succeeds. After the rather definitive ending of the last film, this one sees the tables turned, as Zira (Kim Hunter), Cornelius (Roddy McDowall), and some plot convenient scientist chimp escape their planet using the same wormhole that Colonel Taylor did… which drops them smack in the middle of 1970s California.
While on paper a role reversal of the original film isn’t the cleverest idea out there, Escape does a great job of using the obvious parallels for a little social commentary while simultaneously playing its fish out of water scenario for laughs.
Time makes comedy of all fashion.
Even more impressively, it melds this fun, lighter-hearted first half with the series’ signature dark third act, exploring the time travel implications of apes visiting from humanity (and Earth’s) doomed future, and to what extent preventative measures to avoid it can be justified. It also hugely expands the series mythology,, effectively rebooting it without truly starting over.
Don Taylor does a much better directorial job than Beneath‘s Ted Post, or at least has a bigger budget to play with, and the makeup in particular is the best yet, pliable and much more believable. Also, Jerry Goldsmith returns to score, adding some 70s funk to his eclectic mix. The ape actors, too, are at their best, obviously more comfortable in their, well, skin. McDowell in particular has taken great strides in making his character more dynamic and interesting, but it’s Hunter who steals the show, vibrant, funny, and just so damn cute at the beginning, then frightened yet determined as their human honeymoon ends. As good as the makeup is, it’s all in the eyes, and Hunter proves herself a master of acting with her eyes.
Wait… how the fuck? Yeah don’t think too terribly hard about how the apes salvaged, fueled, launched, or flew one of the crashed human spaceships, because it will just make your head hurt.
Genius Monkey is Genius, okay?
The last act devolves into a conventional chase sequence that drags a bit as well.
What seals the deal, though, is that Escape recovers from that with a tremendously bleak ending that underlines the cruelties of man and the prevailing pacifist message of the series so far in one fell swoop. After the first film of course, this is the best of the original run of the series.