PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

The Unenthusiastic Critic Podcast - Episode 30

The Unenthusiastic Critic is in no mood for monkey business as she enters the madhouse for her first viewing of 1968's Planet of the Apes.

We're doing a deep dive on Franklin Schaffner's sci-fi classic, and particularly into how the original Planet of the Apes pentology—intentionally and unintentionally—reflects and explores the racial tensions of its era.

Along the way, we're also talking about the blacklisting of Michael Wilson, the brilliance of Jerry Goldsmith, the terribleness of Mark Wahlberg, and the endearingly ridiculous overacting of Charlton Heston.

Program

0:00: Prologue: from The Simpsons Episode 7x19
0:48: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion of Planet of the Apes
10:57: Original Trailer for Planet of the Apes
12:41: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion of Planet of the Apes
1:08:12: Outro and Next Week's Movie
1:09:50: Outtake

Notes and Links

—Movie Reviewed: Planet of the Apes (dir. Franklin Schaffner, 20th Century Fox, 1968)
—Books and Articles Mentioned: Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race, Politics, and Popular Culture, by Eric Greene, Wesleyan Press, 1998; Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film, by Adilufu Nama, University of Texas Press, 2008;  "The Racial Politics of Planet of the Apes," Mychal Denzel Smith, The Grio, August 5, 2011
—Read The Unenthusiastic Critic in prose form at unaffiliatedcritic.com.
Email us, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. (Suggestions of movies to watch for future episodes are welcome!)
—"Warm Duck Shuffle" by Arne Huseby is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

The Unaffiliated Critic

Michael G. McDunnah is a freelance writer, a recovering lit major, a pop-culture junkie, and an unaffiliated critic. He lives in Chicago.

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One thought on “PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

  1. "Planet of the Apes": The podcast covered everything, including some ideas I hadn't thought of.
    "Beneath the Planet of the Apes": It's a bad omen, when the unavailability or limited availability of original cast members dictates the plot.
    "Escape from the Planet of the Apes": My favorite of the sequels, in part for Kim Hunter's performance, and in part for bringing back Jerry Goldsmith who heads my all-time list of film composers. John Williams is a close second.
    "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes": On the subject of race, I recall the black character being pivotal to the plot, taking an action which enables the ape revolution.
    "Battle for the Planet of the Apes": The version I saw was the one for TV broadcast, which added deleted scenes that arguably made the film slightly better than it was originally.
    "Planet of the Apes" Tim Burton remake: I agree with the general view that, while Burton improved upon the depiction of the apes, compared to those in the original, he didn't seem very interested in the humans. Helena Bonham Carter was the best thing in the movie. Then there was the surprise ending that didn't make logical sense.
    I'm not ape over the new franchise. While Andy Serkis does deserve an Oscar nomination for his performance-capture work, the films' plots are another matter. In "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," the apes are great, but the humans are idiots, particularly in how they enable the plague to get loose. In "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," both the ape and the human side are entirely male dominated. The female character with the most agency, a human doctor, follows her husband's lead throughout. In "War for the Planet of the Apes," the biblical allegory gets too heavy-handed. Then there's the "deus ex avalanche" which you criticized in your review and which left a missed opportunity for a much better ending.

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