Notable Cast: James Franciscus, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, Linda Harrison, James Gregory, Charlton Heston
With the success of Planet of the Apes for 20th Century Fox it was inevitable that they would try to push the franchise forward. Unfortunately, there were a ton of massive debacles in trying to get this film made. Seriously, if you are interested in this franchise you should look up the behind the scenes drama that unfolded will trying to get Beneath the Planet of the Apes on the screen. These issues (everything from casting, to scripting, to drastically cut budgets) certainly take their toll on the final product of the film. Beneath is still a fun science fiction flick, but it doesn’t even come close to touching the heights of the first film.
After Taylor (Heston) and his crew disappeared with their ship, a rescue team was sent to find out their fate. A young astronaut Brent (Franciscus) finds himself stranded on the same planet as the team previous. With the help of Taylor’s mate Nova (Harrison), Cornelius (Watson), and Zira (Hunter), he will have to navigate a disruptive gorilla uprising in the ape city and investigate where Taylor ended up when he went beneath the planet of the apes.
|Peek a boo!|
On top of that, Beneath pushes itself more towards being an action film in many sequences to match the thrills of the previous film, but often enough it comes off as a bit desperate to entertain more than fitting for the film. A fight on a wagon is pretty impressive, but feels tacked on for example. Fransiscus, who seems to be hammered into a Heston clone here, seems to be phoning in his performance in between those action set pieces too leaving a film that just meanders through the motions. Generally speaking, most of the actors seem to be a bit limp in their respective roles outside of Gregory who delivers some memorable moments as General Ursus with his classic ‘the only good human is a dead human’ monologue. The roles of Zira and Cornelius are butchered to cameos and the mutants at the end are played with such serious cheese it’s hard not to laugh towards the end.
|"We're not monkeying around now."|