Anyone alive in the late 1960's and early 1970's most certainly had to have watched The Planet of the Apes if not in theatres, then most certainly on TV. The movie directed by Franklin J. Schaffner was released in 1968 and starred Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowell and Linda Harrison. The movie tells the story of three surviving astronauts who land on an unknown planet in the year 3978 AD. They discover that the human population is wild and mute and that simians rule the planet. Humans are hunted and either killed or used for experimental purposes.
Of the three astronauts who survived to land on the planet, only Taylor is left. At first he is wounded in the throat, resulting in him being made temporarily mute. Two chimpanzee researchers, Zira, an animal pyschologist and her fiance, Cornielius who is an archeologist believe that Taylor is intelligent. Eventually he regains his ability to speak and addresses the apes who are shocked that a human creature can speak. However, the rulers of Ape City put Taylor on trial and try to decide what to do with him. Dr. Zaius, an orangutan administrator tells Taylor that his presence threatens the existence of the ape society. He tells Taylor that he must lie about his origins, otherwise he will perform a lobotomy on him.
At this point Zira and Cornelius intervene and kidnap Taylor and the mute female human, Nova and take them to the Forbidden Zone. They do not know why this area is forbidden, except that Cornelius has found evidence of an earlier advanced civilization that was not simian.
They are pursued by Dr. Zaius who is captured by Taylor. Zaius tells them he knows about the earlier advanced human civilization but that this information has been kept secret to protect the ape civilization. Hence, the Forbidden Zone. He exiles Taylor and Nova who eventually discover that the planet is in fact Earth, destroyed in a global nuclear war.
I was too young to catch the movie when it first came out but I remember watching it and the many sequels late at night with my younger brother.
Well now, it seems we are going to be treated to a prequel of sorts entitled, Rise of the Planet of the Apes which will do exactly that- tell us how the apes came about ruling the world.
You can watch the trailer below:
A more detailed discussion of WETA's involvement in creating the special effects for this movie can be found below:
Personally, I can't wait to see those damned dirty apes once again!