Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Beneath the Planet of the Apes</strong> (1970)

(On Cable TV, January 2018) I actually have faint and mild traumatized memories of seeing the end of Beneath the Planet of the Apes as a kid, with its nightmarish conclusion. A more contemporary viewing isn’t making me any friendlier toward the film, although for different reasons: I now think that the end of the film, with its horrific facial revelation and atomic conclusion, is the best thing about a remarkably redundant sequel. Not that I’ve been a fan of the original film or the subsequent series—While the 2011–2017 second remake trilogy is fantastic, the first series and 2001 singleton are dull beyond belief. Beneath the Planet of the Apes is not particularly interesting, revisiting the same material and not offering much until the end. Even Charlton Heston is sidelined for most of the film. The cosmic coincidence of having a second set of astronauts land in more or less the same place is too big to swallow, and the grimness of the ending, underscored by a fairly definitive narration, isn’t one to make one’s inner kid happy. Too bad the rest of the series couldn’t stay as dead as it should have been after the ending of this one.

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