Planet of the Apes was one of the most successful movies of its time, so naturally, they were very quick to pump out a sequel. Beneath the Planet of the Apes picks up shortly after the first movie, with another US spaceship landing on the planet after being sent to find Taylor and his crew. The only surviving astronaut of this ship, a man called Brent, is pretty much a carbon copy of Taylor from the first one, but significantly less developed. He’s basically just there to guide us through the story, and isn’t very interesting himself. The first half of the movie basically plays out the same beats as the original, with him meeting the Apes, being captured and put in a cage, and then escaping and discovering he’s been on earth all along. Where the movie gets interesting is in the last forty minutes or so, when we discover a whole race of super intelligent humans living underground. They worship an unexploded nuclear warhead and the radiation has given them all wicked mind powers. What I like about this is that it adds another dimension to the established world from the first movie. They introduce a new threat to the characters and environment, which is exactly what a good sequel should do. I’m kind of disappointed that these underground mutants aren’t references at all in any of the new movies. You wanna wow me with the third entry in the Andy Serkis franchise, have him go up against these guys. Anyway, the movie ends with Dr. Zaius leading an army of gorillas (who’s numbers seem to be greater than the population of the Ape community from the first movie, but whatever) in an assault against the telepathic mutants, which culminates in Charlton Heston briefly reappearing just to activate the nuclear bomb and destroy the entire planet. I kinda like this ending. It’s satisfying to see Charlton Heston’s character Taylor finally get some peace after all he’s been through, and having the planet destroyed by humans is fitting with the end of the first movie. It’s a nice way to put to rest both the franchise and the main character. (Or it would be, if they hadn’t figured out a way to make three more sequels after literally the entire planet explodes) Ultimately, Beneath the Planet of the Apes is a much campier, more action oriented movie, and lacks all of the tone and weight of the original. But it’s also pretty fucking cool.
Overall Rating: Nuclear/10
So I was totally gonna watch all the Planet of the Apes movies and marathon review them before I saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but I wanted to actually watch them in good quality on blu ray instead of downloading them, and I had like no money to buy them, so I kept putting off doing it, and then Dawn came out, and I still kept putting it off, so finally I just went and saw it, and reviewed it, and just so it felt like acknowledged the franchise a little, I also reviewed Rise of the Planet of the Apes. But then I actually did get some money, and I did go out and buy the original five movies, and now I’m watching through them again. So it’s a little late and a bit out of order, but I’m gonna marathon review the franchise. Starting with the first one. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that this movie is great. I mean, there probably wouldn’t be four sequels, a remake, a reboot, a sequel to the reboot, and a TV show if the original movie wasn’t any good. The real question, I think, would be if it’s still great after almost fifty years. The answer is a definite and emphatic yes. Planet of the Apes is by any definition of the phrase a great movie, and one of the best sci-fi films ever made. It’s tense, phycological, and has an eerie tone all throughout. Charlton Heston is great in it, and even when there’s not much happening his character is intriguing to watch. But really the whole movie is just building to the end, which, though not much of an action packed climax, is one of the best endings to a movie ever. Even after seeing it parodied a million times, that shot of the statue of liberty sticking out of the sand still sends shivers down my spine every time.
Overall Rating: IT’S A MAD HOUSE, A MAAAD HOUSE!!!!!/10
So Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was a pretty good movie, but really all it did was set the stage for a way better sequel. And Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes delivers. It’s a dark, post-apocalyptic movie, and normally there’s nothing special about that, but since the first in the series was set in our regular world and was much lighter in tone, the contrast here really makes you feel the losses that the humans have suffered. It’s also great to see the apes’ peaceful little society become engulfed in death and war due to their mistrust of human, and the highlight is certainly near the end when they attack the human camp. But what really makes this movie is Caesar. Andy Serkis has an amazing motion capture performance, and the technology has evolved to such a point that I had to keep reminding myself that the apes weren’t real. It’s also really great to see how he’s evolved, and how the events of the first movie have affected him and influence his actions in this one. But what’s really great is that he’s finally the main character of the movie. I mean, it’s called Planet of the Apes, but all the movies seem to tell the story from a human perspective. This movie is finally the ape’s story, as their society begins to take over, and the struggles they got through in maintaining it. Sure, there are human characters thrown in, and they do get kind of annoying, especially the kid, but they’re mainly just there to serve the arc of Caesar. It’s really his movie, and it’s great.
Overall Rating: Dude Apes Are Fucking Badass/10
Rise of the Planet of the Apes may be the second attempt to reboot the franchise in only ten years, but hopefully it’s the only one people will remember in the long run. It’s a solid story with some decently developed characters, and when the awesome ape-attack goes down at the end I actually care about the stakes as well as appreciate the quality action. The movie does have a lot of flaws; there’s a few too many gross plot conveniences, like how easily Caesar’s mom escapes at the beginning, not to mention the fact that none of the people doing medical experiments on her noticed she was pregnant, and it also kind of bugs me how the entire second half is basically just a prison movie with apes. But it does get big points for originality, managing to tell the familiar story in an incredible new way. I think it was a great move to focus the story on Caesar’s own growth and development, adding a character element to the plot of apes rising to intelligence. It’s a tight, original movie, and it has some pretty dope action towards the end.
Overall Rating: Yo how awesome was it when he bitched out the kid from Harry Potter?/10
So as you may or not know, I’m a pretty big fan of Star Trek. And I’m also very much so NOT a fan of the new J.J. Abrahams movies. I think they’re terrible, CGI schlock-fests that could not possibly be more insulting to Gene Roddenberry’s original vision of a utopian future. But that’s besides the point. Let’s think back for a second. Back in the mid-80s, when Star Trek popularity was at it’s height, did they just pump out action-packed big budget movie after action-packed big budget movie? Well, yes. But they also took the series forward in a big, big way. Star Trek: The Next Generation is one of the best possible moves anyone has made in terms of leeching off a successful franchise. It took the shows themes and ideals, but made them fresh and new, totally reviving the franchise for the next, well, generation. But after fifteen years, seven seasons, four movies and three spinoff series, everybody stopped giving a shit about Star Trek all over again. And once again, it needed a revival. Which came in the form of J.J. Abrahams’ 2009 blockbuster reboot. But ask yourself, is a high budget big screen rehashing of all the classic moments from the sixties show really what was needed to revive the Star Trek franchise? Then answer is hell no. And what they should have done is sitting right under everybody’s noses, clear as day; they should do another next generation. A new TV show, with a new cast of characters, set another hundred years forward. See, TV had changed a lot in the twenty years between the original series and TNG, and it’s changed even more in the twenty years since. What we need is a new Star Trek series for the modern world, and though Gene Roddenberry may no longer be around to give it his blessing, I think if the right people were involved it could really make Star Trek great again, and usher in a whole new era for the franchise, something fresh and new. Wouldn’t you rather see that than Kirk and Spock argue about emotion for the millionth goddamn time? If you ask me, the Star Trek movies always suffered from the studio trying to make them to action-y, and a good intellectual TV series is what’s needed right now to bring it back to it’s roots. Now, there may not be much I can do about it (hell, I can’t even get a job at Target), but somebody out there should get this done. Netflix, I’m looking at you.
So after American Wedding they decided that the only way they could possibly keep making money off of the name was to chuck out the original cast, and just have a whole bunch of new teenagers doing stupid sex stuff. Thus begin a long string of stupid, unfunny spinoff movies whose only connection to American Pie is that poor Eugene Levi somehow got tricked into appearing in all of them. But when people eventually stopped giving a shit about those movies, too, they finally decided to put the franchise to rest, and what better send off could you hope for then the return of the original cast? Now, if you had never seen an American Pie movie, and you just decided to watch American Reunion out of the blue, you probably wouldn’t think it was that funny. But what this movie is is a great tribute for fans of the original. It’s so much fun to see everybody back (even if Alyson Hannigan has totally forgotten how to play her character and now just acts the exact same way she does on How I Met Your Mother), and the movie knows how to use all of them appropriately. All of their arcs in the movie manage to be very much in-character, without seeming too repetitive. There’s even some funny twist on previous jokes, like Stiffler banging Finch’s mom at the end. And btw, that whole scene with the MILF guys was the highlight of the movie. Overall, it’s not the greatest movie ever, but it’s a good tribute for the fans, and a nice way to end the series (until somebody makes a shitty reboot in like five years).
Overall Rating: MILF/10
American Wedding fucking sucks. It just blows chunks. I guess what happened by this point is they were struggling to keep up with all the new gross out teen comedies of the new millennia, but they just took it too far. It has none of the finesse of the previous two movies to make up for all the stupid jokes. Not to mention, half of the goddamn cast is gone. I mean it’s one thing to loose Vicki, and Jessica, and Sherman, but Oz isn’t in the movie. He’s been one of the four main characters since the beginning, and he’s just gone with no explanation. I mean, I could buy that they fell out of touch a little, but what possibly could have happened between them in the last three years that would cause him to miss Jim’s wedding? But as bad as it is that he’s gone, it’s even more of an insult to the cast members who did stay, most of whom are just there for scenery. Seriously, try to tell me a single interesting thing that Kevin does the entire movie. He just sits in the background while Finch and Stiffler fight over Michelle’s hot sister. Which is the other major problem here; Stiffler has suddenly become the main character. Now, it’s common in TV and movie franchises for a side character to have his role increased due to popularity, but over the course of only three movies Stiffler has gone from the asshole background character to the goddamn lead. I mean, I really enjoyed seeing him more in American Pie 2, but I don’t want to see him go through an emotional arc and save the day at the end. It’s fucking Stiffler, for christ’s sake! He’s not a very well developed character, and when you try to make the audience care about and connect with him it just shines a huge light on that fact. Whereas the first two managed to be clever and funny with a charismatic cast, this one is just juvenile and stupid.
Overall Rating: Suckfest/10