"Planet of the Apes" is a chilling science fiction set in the year 3978 and is one of the best known classical science fiction films. When astronaut Taylor lands on an apparently distant planet he and his colleagues find it to be deserted or so it seems. Not only is the planet inhabited by humans but the humans have been terrorized by a more advanced species of apes. Taylor's team is shot and he is imprisoned where he meets a chimpanzee scientist called Zira who shows compassion for him. Zira helps Taylor escape and also helps persuade Dr Za ius (the most respected leader of the apes) that things were not always what they seemed. This film begins and ends brilliantly and although it was made in 1968 it has not been outdated.
This film has had a big boost in publicity due to the blockbuster remake that has just been produced. Special video packages have been produced that contain both movies together, therefore anyone who enjoyed the new blockbuster will find the original movie very appealing. For anyone who enjoys sci-fi movies this is a must see and because science fiction and space exploration movies were very popular during the late sixties and seventies this movie slotted in with a perfect target audience at the time. While watching this film I initially thought the theme was to do with freedom and that it is wrong to keep captive any life form. by having a human as a test subject it shows how cruel humans can be and how it feels to be on the other side. However after watching the final scene the theme becomes clearer.
When Taylor discovers that humans have destroyed themselves it shows that the real monster is man and not the apes. The theme is be wary of technology and that it should not always be embraced but shunned. In this case man has been his own downfall. To portray its reality this film gives humans a new perspective where they are not the dominant race. The viewer in this case will see the apes as evil and cruel but in real life the humans really are the apes as they have all the human characteristics. When the viewer realises how close the apes are to humans in their behaviour they can see how dangerous, cruel and deceitful humans can be.
When Taylor discovers that the Statue of Liberty is right in front of him half buried in sand the theme of be weary of technology and be weary of man is rammed home. By having the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and democracy destroyed by humans the theme could not be more clear. No matter how old this film is it will still not fail to entertain. I did find this film dragged on a bit through the middle and maybe comedy was not the same in the 1960's but I found that one of the attempted jokes was quite pathetic. A good film never the less and in fact it leaves its visually superior modern counterpart in the dust. This film will always be one of the best sci-fi movies ever made..