The Planet of the Apes film series, spanning more than 50 years, is regarded as cinematic gold. Every movie features stunning special effects, expert makeup and costume design, and provocative science fiction ideas. Reboots notwithstanding, these films’ legacy endures and grows stronger over time as viewers and artists discuss their influence. Filmmakers have been faithful to preserving character names and ideas that fans of the original set of films would recognise in the contemporary episodes, and vice versa, during the course of the films’ fifty years on screen. The debut work by French science fiction writer Pierre Boulle, which was released in 1963, is the source material.

All but two of the formulaic movie titles start with an action or adjective that hints at the main idea to viewers. Apes either continue to get the upper hand over humans or are getting ready to do so in every Planet of the Apes installment. In contrast to the contemporary adaptations, which tilt the balance in favour of the monkey counterparts and their evolutionary path, the older installations aim to encourage viewers to support the human protagonists before moving on to the apes. When thinking about marathon alternatives, the Planet of the Apes series is undoubtedly overlooked—especially given the enormous number of films that fall under its umbrella.

10. ‘Planet of the Apes’ (1968)

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner

The first-ever franchise film, which made a historic cinematic imprint and crashed-landed, starred a Hollywood great and was nominated for two Oscars as well as an honorary medal for outstanding excellence. A group of astronauts, led by the renowned Charlton Heston, crash land on a strange planet where intelligent apes dominate society and maintain a rigid social and political structure that places humans at the bottom and enslaves them.

Planet of the Apes is a sociological statement on oppressive treatment, class structures, and self-destruction rather than just a science fiction movie with adaptations. This movie stands out among the greatest in an era of Hollywood epics not only for its inventive cinematic magic and external topics, but also for that memorable twist that viewers were not prepared for. The original Planet of the Apes was groundbreaking and boundary-pushing, and it served as the catalyst for a 50-year movie franchise that continues to astonish audiences.

9. ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’ (1970)

Directed by Ted Post

Beneath the Planet of the Apes, the second movie in the original five-part series, fell short of its predecessor’s reputation. The main plot of the movie centres around James Franciscus’s character John Brent and his search for the first movie’s crash survivors. Rather, he discovers a subterranean community of mutant humans that not only worship an atomic bomb but also managed to survive a nuclear explosion years earlier. Similar to the original, the apes and humans are still engaged in a power struggle that catches the newcomer off guard.

Along with a hasty production to release the movie just a year after the first, Charlton Heston’s calculated decision to not come back was the first dominion to fall for Beneath the Planet of the Apes. In fact, Beneath the Planet of the Apes is a prime example of a sequel designed purely to capitalise on the popularity of its predecessor. The conclusion, which seems to imply there wouldn’t be any more tales to be told in this reality, is equally as bizarre as the idea. For science fiction filmmakers of the day, nevertheless, such was not the case.

8. ‘Escape from the Planet of the Apes’ (1971)

Directed by Don Taylor

The third movie followed the apparent route of Beneath the Planet of the Apes, working under budget and on a hurried schedule compared to its foundational predecessor. Time travel is introduced for two primate characters from the previous films in Escape the Planet of the Apes, delving more into the sci-fi genre. Zira (Kim Hunter), Cornelius (Roddy McDowall), and their infant Milo (Sal Mineo) manage to escape before their world is destroyed and journey back in time to 1970s America, where they are used as experimental test subjects once humans learn of their brilliance and prowess.

More favoured by critics than its predecessor, Escape the Planet of the Apes boasted a more character-driven plot and a deft handling of contemporary science fiction themes. A deviation from the original idea, Escape the Planet of the Apes follows a format similar to contemporary films in which apes are the focus of scientific inquiries, culminating in an attempt at escape or revolt. It also hinted at the franchise’s self-awareness and demonstrated its readiness to try new things.

7. ‘Conquest of the Planet of the Apes’ (1972)

Directed by J. Lee Thompson

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes debuts a moniker that has become iconic with the franchise to audiences in the 2000s. The apes have been sold into slavery in a world created after the events of Escape Planet of the Apes. Caesar (Roddy McDowall), the late Zira and Cornelius’s son, starts planning a revolt to free apes and end humankind’s dominance after concealing his identity for twenty years.

The original film’s nuanced societal message on discrimination and injustice is mishandled in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. The film’s ambitious ideals are further undermined by its blatantly poor budget, making it a disappointing debut that alluded to the series’ eventual demise. Although McDowall’s comeback to the film as Caesar is widely valued in the franchise legacy, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes garnered negative reviews.

6. ‘Battle for the Planet of the Apes’ (1973)

Directed by J. Lee Thompson

Battle for the Planet of the Apes, the last chapter of the original five-part series, was not exactly a box office triumph. Ten years have passed since Caesar led the revolution that freed the apes and a nuclear war wiped off the human race, according to the blatantly low-budget movie. He now tries to guide both species towards peaceful coexistence, but a human cult and a gorilla with a militant streak named Aldo (Claude Akins) devise their own schemes to take back control of the other species.

Battle for the Planet of the Apes, a franchise renowned for its special effects and makeup, is a glaring failure with prosthetics that don’t seem as well as they do in the four prior films. For both critics and viewers, the film falls flat as it stumbled through its commentary on franchise-formulaic themes such as species hierarchy and fate against free choice. Although this would be the last time fans saw McDowall in the iconic primate’s big-screen role, he remained close to the character when the Planet of the Apes television series debuted a year later.

5. ‘Planet of the Apes’ (2001)

Directed by Tim Burton

Despite Tim Burton’s best efforts to reinvent the film for 21st-century viewers, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes received a terrible review on all fronts, three decades after the first movie debuted. Mark Wahlberg, who was miscast in the role, plays Captain Leo Davidson, an Air Force astronaut who crashes on an undiscovered planet in 2029. The apes, led by General Thade (Tim Roth), rule the planet and humans are treated cruelly. Leo organises a rebellion to topple Thade and reclaim his ship, with the aid of Ari (Helena Bonham Carter) and other apes who disagree with Thade’s ideas.

Planet of the Apes is still a solo exhibit; it’s not quite as bad as Mystery Science Theatre 3000’s dark sci-fi, but it’s also not quite the big movie that fans were waiting for. It was flawed at the end, but it had all the makings of a successful film: a well-known director, a talented cast, a recognised source, and movie magic effects. Its now-iconic ending, which makes an unsuccessful attempt to duplicate the 1968 original’s wow factor, continues to cause controversy.

4. ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ (2011)

Directed by Rupert Wyatt

Caesar, the main character of the franchise, was first shown to modern viewers in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, another ground-breaking portrayal by Andy Serkis. Under the care of scientist Will Rodman (James Franco), Caesar (Serkis), a chimpanzee, shows more cerebral and emotional intelligence after being introduced to a medicine that is being tested for Alzheimer’s. Caesar, having been cruelly treated by the facility’s heartless personnel, is moved to a primate sanctuary where he leads an ape uprising after attacking a neighbour in an attempt to defend Will’s father, Charles (John Lithgow).

One of the best examples of a good reboot that departs from the otherworldly idea of the original franchise is Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Caesar is a clear threat to people in positions of power because, despite upending the status quo and upending the system, he is a kind man who longs for peace. Caesar is still a figure worth rooting for at the expense of humanity, even though he and his unavoidable rule are the result of human scientific evolution.

3. ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ (2011)

Directed by Matt Reeves

The best villain in the Apes franchise and one of the most underappreciated movie villains ever were presented to fans in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a picture that defied the sequel curse and is possibly even better than the original. Following the ape insurrection, a catastrophic Simian flu pandemic wipes out society. The apes assume that humans have vanished, but an unanticipated conflict puts both species on high alert. While fellow monkey Koba (Toby Kebbell) refuses to believe the humans’ ostensibly well-intended efforts to restore electricity to the survival camp below, Caesar permits a small group lead by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) into the dam, setting off a series of events that pits them against one other.

Koba’s terrible history of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of people makes it difficult for him to have faith in Caesar’s wisdom and the community of survivors. The remaining films in the series, which pit apes and humans against one another for control of their shared existence, are sparked by his acts. Despite being a franchise with a non-human protagonist, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the most complex of the contemporary entries, with spectators pulling for the humans and against the apes.

2. ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ (2017)

Directed by Matt Reeves

War for the Planet of the Apes, the thrilling conclusion of Andy Serkis’s Caesar, sets the franchise hero up for a far darker confrontation with humanity in the film’s final act. Following the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar experiences an unfathomable loss and is viewed by humans as a war criminal. He decides to leave his clan and pursue the vicious, renegade Colonel J. Wesley McCullough (Woody Harrelson). The Colonel plans to exterminate apes in order to ensure that humanity survives when the viral outbreak mutates and renders humans speechless.

Caesar is a conflicted individual whose path is introspective as he struggles with feelings of retaliation that contradict his core conviction that humans and apes may cohabit peacefully. Evolutionary ideas that would remain dormant until the next installment were introduced in War for the Planet of the Apes, signalling a significant shift in the series. The grand finale was a fitting farewell for both Serkis and Caesar. A fitting and impactful finale would have been reached if the show had concluded here.

1. ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ (2024)

Directed by Wes Ball

Generations after Caesar’s last stand in War for the Planet of the Apes, Noa (Owen Teague) embarks on a mission to save his family after a rival clan raids his clan and kidnaps them. Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand), the despotic tyrant who kidnapped Noa’s family, is searching for Mae (Freya Allen), one of the few humans who has recovered their evolutionary intelligence and speech.

The newest entry in the series showcases the most recent developments in computer graphics along with cast members’ motion capture performances that are unmatched. Themes of evolutionary hierarchy and repressive ideologies are present in this episode, making viewers root for both the triumph of a particular class of apes over humans in some capacity. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, which began a new reboot and continued where the 2010 trilogy left off, broke record numbers at the box office, indicating that there is still space for more dystopian blockbusters.

Topics #cinematic gold #Film #Original release #Planet of the Apes