Monday, May 31, 2010

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

Dir: Don Taylor
Fox Blu-ray

Here we get a departure from the first two films and find the tables turned. In this outing the apes are the outsiders as Zira (Kim Hunter), Cornelius (MacDowall is back), and Milo (Sal Mineo) somehow figure out how to work a spaceship and use it to travel back in time to around the same year that Taylor first left out on his mission. THey are captured and taken to a zoo until they reveal they can talk. Hunter yuks it up by making monkeys (sorry!) out of some scientists. Then a shocking tonal shift happens when a gorilla chokes Milo to death in a cage! After that detour, Cornelius and Zira become celebs, Zira gets pregnant (from Cornelius, the movie is strange but not that strange), some sleaze ball gets her drunk and she reveals that the world blows up in a few thousand years. This starts mass hysteria and while most people believe that killing Cornelius and Zira would be wrong, they all agree that forcing them into an abortion will save the human race from talking apes in the future! The apes go on the run, Zira has the baby, and they meet Ricardo Montalban who owns a circus that happens to have a baby chimp of their own. You can probably guess what happens there but it leads to a really disturbing scene that is fairly unbelievable. This is certainly the strangest of the entries as it shifts from comedy to despair with little warning, it is a nice set up for the more ambitious sequels to come.


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