Ah, the final touches on the Planet Of The Apes franchise retrospective. This is and has always been one of my favorite franchises. While it predates me by 13 years, we've been together a long time. And its really exciting to see this new life and rebirth with a prestigious new franchise that is also pretty popular. There's so much to get from these films old and new (well, maybe not one of them, but its batting a higher average). If you're a person that just has a hard time with older films, I feel bad for you because there's some really rich stuff here you're missing out on. I find something great about almost each one of these (sans 1) that I may have never picked up on before with each new viewing.
Lets get on with this damn dirty ranking
8. Planet Of The Apes (2001)
This one just flat out stinks. I hate to use the word ambitious because I really don't know what the ambition was behind it, but the costuming and sets lend me to that term. But it's that big summer movie that just really doesn't work and its not even fun to watch this thing fail. Its boring, has no real life, and just has you scratching your head and checking your watch. A lot of people don't like this film. A lot of people are very very right.
7. Battle For The Planet Of The Apes
Okay, so this may be ranked 2nd to last and right up against one of the worst summer movies of all time, but make no mistake, I still like this one. Its biggest problems come down to budget and not having enough balls to pull off some story points that it should of. I still think its solid, and the fact that I'm able to see what it really wants to do despite it not realizing it itself kind of helps it for me. And I also think it has a fair ending for the original canon, seeing things begin, come full circle and end at the same time.
6. Beneath The Planet Of The Apes
At one time, as a young lad, I despised this movie. In my old age, I've warmed to it quite a bit. I still don't care much for the first half of the film, but the moment we actually go "beneath" as the film's title promises, the film gets really interesting. It adds more lore, awesome sets, and sheer craziness to the Apes mythology. And the ending...just wow. Stick with this film, because it pays off in the end. Who knows, as the years pass this one just might continue to climb up these Ape rankings for me.
5. Escape From The Planet Of The Apes
A total crowd pleaser and maybe the most easily accessible sequel or even film in the entire franchise. Its a fun movie that ends in a complete 180. The film works for me, but kind of loses its fun fish out of water freshness with each additional viewing. I still enjoy it and the film is still of the strongest of the original canon, but after I've seen it so many times its like a ticking time bomb to the final act.
4. Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes
I maybe am of few that put this above escape, but this is just one that fires on all cylinders for me. I dig the ape uprising, the story leading up to it. I like this sci fi on display. The stylings of it. Ricardo Montalbon. A lot of things are just clicking for me here. And the ending was pretty profound to me when I first watched it and still today this day lands as pretty dark (even the "good" ending in the theatrical cut).
3. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
And they went and redid my favorite sequel and topped it. This was a terrific refresh for this franchise and became easily one of its best films. It seemed to know what to do feel new and respectful to the original series at the same time. It also boasted a surprising, but really great cast. Mocap CG creations have never felt so full and lifelike as they did starting with this movie. Its great.
2. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
Yes, folks, this film is THAT good. Matt Reeves seems to fully understand, respect and know how to tell a story in this franchise. He also gets how to make it its own, flush things out and make for a sequel that is able to stand on its own yet play as a faithful follow up to Rise. Its entirely self contained, but open for more serialization as well. Unlike a lot of franchise films today the whole movie doesn't feel like a setup for the next one and doesn't sit and pine about the first film. Its got its own clear cut agent first and foremost. And if you thought Rise was a good blockbuster sci fi epic that managed to pull some emotional strings and be pretty touching, this one does that and then some. I can't speak highly enough of this film, but its easily the best blockbuster of the year by far.
Up down and all around a perfect sci fi film. I love its mystery, its strangeness, its sort of Twilight Zone feel. Its a film that grabbed me by the balls when I first watched it and by the end of the film it let go and then kick me in them. Its got a big performance by Charlton Heston, astonishing cinematography, fantastic makeup effects and some good underlying social commentary. You can only have this movie. You can't ever make it again. And we've learned that. That's a pretty powerful thing and a sign that your film truly is the one and only.
So where do we go after the Apes. Well...I couldn't decide. So you'll be getting 2 retrospectives at the same time. I don't know how I'm going to go about this...but you'll get them. Here's sort of 1 clip that actually kind of gives a hint to both retrospectives