Immediately following the events of the first film, Beneath the Planet of the Apes literally goes deeper into the mystery of the planet of the apes after a new ship crashes.
Picking up at the end of Planet of the Apes with the displaced astronuat, Taylor (Charlton Heston), and mute native, Nova (Linda Harrison), travel through the Forbidden Zone. Strange lightning causes Taylor to investigate and disappear before Nova’s eyes. Another spaceship crash lands nearby with a group of astronauts looking for Taylor. Brent (James Franciscus), thinks he has traveled to a distant planet and stumbles upon Nova, wearing Taylor’s dog tags. The two ride together to Ape City where Brent is startled by the simian population. He is befriended by Cornelius (David Watson) and Zira (Kim Hunter) who helps him escape capture by the gorillas. Brent then goes below ground, following a strange sound, and finds a group of telepathic humans living underground.
I’ve always enjoyed the original Planet of the Apes and I’m one of the few people that didn’t hate Tim Burton’s remake but I’ve never actually seen any of the other movies in the original series of films. Beneath the Planet of the Apes was not a great movie but I did have a great time watching it. I’ve always liked the special effects used for the ape costumes and even though the apes aren’t the focus in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, at least they didn’t cheapen out. The filmmakers even brought back the original cast when applicable, something that makes this feel like an actual sequel instead of a quick cash-in.
It’s kind of funny that I’ve seen so many Beneath the Planet of the Apes references but never understood them. In fact, I knew about 90% of the plot of the film just from pop culture references over the years; though, to be fair, it’s not exactly a complicated plot. Without spoiling anything, I will say the ending took me off guard – that was a pretty gutsy move. I purchased the series box-set, so I’m eager to get to the next films, even if they don’t appear to have the same level of love from fans. I wasn’t blown away by Rise of the Planet of the Apes but I’m glad they are making a new series of films in the franchise.
We’ll see what the next three movies have in store for the series, but Beneath the Planet of the Apes is a worthwhile affair that falls short of the original, but is still a worthwhile sequel. Beneath the Planet of the Apes gets the job done, continuing the ending of a great movie with a new, interesting twist on the Planet of the Apes franchise.
I give it 3 General Ursus and Dr. Zaius riding horses out of 5.