BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES
Reviewed October 2nd, 2000 by Chuck Arrington
In events immediately following “Planet of the Apes”, we find a rescue mission dispatched to locate, the marooned Taylor and the other Astronauts. Sadly, their craft meets with the same difficulty and crash lands on the “alien” planet. This time James Franciscus helms the mission and is assisted in his quest by Nova, Taylor’s love interest in the first film. She relates the story of how Taylor simply vanished as they were fleeing Dr. Zaius and his Gorilla troops. She takes Franciscus to Ape city where again, the unreal becomes real. Fleeing the city, Nova and Franciscus stumble upon a cavern that gives way too what appears to be a NYC subway tunnel. Apparently, the alien world is actually Earth of the future! It’s bad enough when the Apes are after you not too mention, a subterranean race of telepathic-nuclear warhead-worshipping –mutants! That’s the next twist in the Sequel to the Planet of the Apes. Franciscus & Nova are reunited with Taylor and the three of them try to wrestle control of the warhead from the mutants while, avoiding the Apes at all costs. With a very decent plot and some excellent special effects, namely those in the ape’s hallucination, Beneath the Planet of the Apes is a fitting sequel to the groundbreaking storyline of Planet of the Apes!
The audio for Beneath the Planet of the Apes is the same 5.1 platform remastered for the first film. There are a bit more surround effect employed in this film, presumably because the film is based underground. In any event, the center is perfect. The dialogue was well delineated and clearly understood. The sub and fronts/rears were all well balanced and presented a pleasing aural atmosphere.
The video is again a beautiful widescreen presentation that sparkles with clarity. The flesh tones were true, the blacks were rich and black however, there were a couple of very minor instances of pixelation in only the darkest of the scenes. There was no bleeding and the transfer was for the most part/largely pristine.
As the boxed set includes a whole disc devoted solely to extras, each individual disc carries the trailers for each feature and a nicely looped cross marketing trailer for all of the entries. In any event, the trailer for the disc is included.
Beneath the Planet of the Apes is just as good as it’s pre-deceasor in that it maintains a degree of believability that some of the films in the series did not convey. The Apes films are one-of-a-kind and full of all sorts of interesting fun & cool stuff, for lack of better terms! The one let down for this feature is that Cornelius, is played by an actor other than Roddey McDowell. The makeup is just different enough for you to know that that’s not the same Chimp! Another side note is, with each film, the budgets got increasingly smaller and the sets became increasingly less intricate, ornate and in one case no sets at all to speak of (Battle for the Planet of the Apes). So, if you don’t have money for sets, you probably don’t have money for makeup either. Such is the case for all the Apes movies. The primary characters all look like real simians however, for those extras you see all too often, the full-head masks are really awful! In any event, Beneath The Planet of the Apes is a great movie with a surprise ending and some really great sequences. All in All a top-notch entry into the Apes saga!
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