History of the Planet of the Apes

The New York Times examines the Planet of the Apes franchise  on the eve of the new movie, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." They say, in part:

Taken together the [original series of] movies constitute a cleverly worked out and (mostly) consistent mythology: an alternative, hairier, book of Genesis. The new “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” although it too features an überchimp named Caesar, consigns that bomb-based mythology to the dustbin of made-up history and instead attributes the origin of the super-species to genetic engineering: different anxieties for different times.

This reinvention of pop scripture is, of course, a risk: “Planet of the Apes” fundamentalists may reject it as heresy. But it’s probably inevitable. Show business, like evolution, is an inexorable and unforgiving process: those who fail to adapt are doomed to extinction. The real danger lies less in rethinking the story than in violating the basic nature of the original series’s kind of science fiction.

It's an interesting article and if it whets your appetite for more, check out Brian Pendreigh's excellent book Legend of the Planet of the Apes for a detailed history into the making of the original movies and the subsequent knock-offs.

4 thoughts on “History of the Planet of the Apes”

  1. Oh for crying out loud! Does no one remember that Pierre “Bridge Over The River Kwai” Boulle published the first book in 1964 (4 years before the Charlton Heston Movie was released!?!) SHEESH! Does no one know how Rod “Twilight Zone” Serling re-wrote the ending to have the ‘Statue of Liberty’ on the beach reveal that he’d only managed to travel in time back to Earth instead of a tale of divergent evolution on an Earth-like planet thousands of light-years away from Earth?
    I don’t mind change, but forgetting the mistakes of the past will curse you to repeat them again until you learn that lesson. The last “Apes” movie released was a travesty, even with the nod to Serling’s ending and Charlton Heston’s cameo. The new one looks better, and I don’t have a problem with the shift in moral focus for the film as long as it is decent! But, let’s not forget to remember the author that started this franchise, shall we..?

  2. Actually, yes, let’s forget the book that inspired the first movie. Let’s forget book that inspired JAWS. Let’s forget the Robert TOwne original ending of CHINATOWN. Let’s forget the book that inspired SOUTH PACIFIC. Let’s forget the original endings to RISKY BUSINESS and PRETTY WOMAN. Let’s forget the novel titled THE THIRD MAN even though it was by the same guy who wrote the screenplay to THE THIRD MAN movie. Let’s forget the short story that inspired REAR WINDOW. While some of that stuff might be kinda good — it’s not nearly as good as the stuff it morphed into.


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