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3.6 out of 5 stars
Beneath The Planet Of The Apes [DVD]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 1 April 2011
Spoilers!

There's no denying that 'Beneath' is a worthy - if slightly repetitive - sequel to the classic original. Kicking off immediately after the ending of 'Planet' - it would be an interesting experiment to edit the two films together as one and see what the result would be - 'Beneath' follows the arrival of Astronaut Brent, sent on a rescue mission to find Taylor and discovering the same 'mad house' world Taylor was subjected to in the original. So far, so familiar. And then 'Beneath' takes an interesting turn as the humanoid Mutant population - now a sect of religious maniacs worshipping an A-Bomb - come under threat from both the arrival of Taylor and Brent and also the advancing ape army, hell bent on a genocidal mission to eradicate humanity from the face of the earth.

The relentless, almost epic, amount of pessimism and flat out nihilism in 'Beneath' is extraordinary. Considering it was a sequel to a hit family fantasy film, the message in 'Beneath' is so bleak that it's amazing that the film got made at all. The negative vibe of the film, and the fact that it ends with a world killing catastrophe (Chuck Heston knows how to kill a franchise!) is something you would never see in a Hollywood film today. Especially a family fantasy such as this. The swipes at war-mongering, brutality, fascism, flower power, religion and - hell - all sentient life in general, makes 'Beneath' a relentless experience. And it's brilliant because of it.

It loses a star because what it has in defiant nihilism, it lacks in character development. Brent is just a faceless everyman with no history, back story or character journey. Like everybody in 'Beneath' he is simply there to struggle and die. Almost a metaphor for the individual, he is dropped into a strange world, forced to comprehend the strange logic and wrestle with brute force and bestial nature and a corrupt 'death wish' spirituality, before - inevitably - dying himself. This is quite heavy going stuff, considering it's a bunch of guys wearing ape masks!

Despite one moment (a silly close-up of ill-fitting ape masks that could have been avoided), the film is well shot with some good SFX and performances. The music, this time by Leonard Rosenman, is also a worthy addition.

8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Roddy McDowall was unable to appear in this film as he had commitments elsewhere, you'd think this would have affected the film but with Cornelius only playing a minor role in the film, it doesn't take away from it. Although you can't help but think that Cornelius would've played a bigger part in the film if Roddy had been the man behind the mask.

The film starts by using the famous scene from the first film (undoubtedly one of the most famous scenes in cinematic history) complete with "damn them all to hell" quote. So this film takes place directly after the first one...

...The film is good, but it isn't great. Charlton Heston was only interested in appearing briefly in the film, so a second astronaut (and short-lived third) appears to play a near identical role (Brent) - infact, if you squint - they uncannily similar! You can understand how Zira confuses him for Heston's Taylor.

After a while this turns into an all-out sci-fi fantasy film, complete with mutant humans with superior technology, telepathy, and a massive golden nuclear bomb. It's at this point you start to think that the film has left it's orbit and is hurtling towards something ambitious but pretty implausible. The far-outness doesn't quite spoil the established future from the first film though. The moralistic altruism of Taylor and Brent bring the film to an apocalyptic close - making the chance of another `...Apes' film seem impossible, but thankfully, as we all know, there was a fantastic 3rd film to come as the film franchise continued.

So in a nutshell: This isn't the strongest Planet of The Apes film, but it isn't a poor film. As a standalone sci-fi film it's actually pretty good, but in context with the first it seems slightly out of place as the Mutant human storyline appears to be nothing other than a tool to introduce the working Nuclear bomb, and the philosophy of religion/destruction. The introductory narration by Cornelius (recorded by Roddy McDowall in this case) is one of the greatest openings to a film. It captures the religious spirit which is so prevalent throughout the feature.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 April 2008
The second film in the Planet of the Apes series is a reasonable sequel, but really lacking most of the originals zest and panache. Charlton Heston briefly reprises his role as Taylor, and in fact the opening to the film, is a reprise of the ending of the original, which is the best bit of the film. Heston reappears in the last 15 mins as well.

With the surprise element lost (because of the ending of the first film), the sequel is mostly formulaic and limited to occasional good scenes. But none have the impact of Hestons first words to the Apes, or the impact of finding the Statue of Liberty on the beach in the original film.

The special effects retain the same high standards as the first film for the apes, but the matt paintings used in the underground scenes now look obvious and dated. Brent as played by James Franciscus is effectively a Charlton Heston/Taylor look-a-like except he doesn't have the screen prescence that Heston brought to the Taylor role.

So overall this is a decent film. Its a lot better than some of the later sequels, but not a patch on the original. Buy if cheap, or get it in the boxed set of 'Ape' films if the price is right.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2005
Sheer magic. The previous film left with astronaut Taylor hunched in despair in front of the statue of liberty...feeling more lost and alone than ever. This film kicks off from this moment as Taylor and Nova head deeper into the Forbidden Zone...and come across a race of crazed and mutated humans who live beneath the ruins of New York and worship a Doomsday bomb.
Meanwhile, astronaut Brent also crash lands on the planet on a mission to rescue Taylor, but ends up in a similar pickle to Taylor in the previous film - alone and stranded and pursued by the apes.
Having learnt of the potential threat from the mutants, the apes (led by General Ursus and Zauis) send an army into the Forbidden Zone. Apes, mutants and astronauts all battle it out before the Doomsday bomb - the holy weapon - in a stunning climax!
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The original Planet of the Apes film was not just a classic, but - more importantly - a SUPRISE hit. Probably no one expected a sequel to be made, let alone so soon. And, as far as sequels go, it's quite good, even if it is a mixed bag.

It takes places literally straight after the events of the first film and we see the original film's hero (Charlton Heston's `Taylor') riding off with his new girlfriend, only to run into some - unseen - trouble. But, hot on his heels, is another astronaut who has been sent to rescue him. This is where the story gets a bit odd. It's hard to put your finger on it, but you're given your original hero, only to have him taken away from you minutes into the film and replaced with someone who looks and acts a lot like him, but isn't him.

So we follow `Taylor Mk II' as he too journeys into the kingdom of the apes (and all the trouble that comes with it). Then, it sort of glides from a sequel (i.e. new story) into a kind of rehash of the last one. `New Taylor' meets up with the same apes and gets chased again then imprisoned (as Charlton did previously). However, the second half picks up. And, when I say `picks up' I mean takes on an `original flavour' while at the same time completely going in a different direction which doesn't feel like an `apes' movie and more.

In case you haven't already seen it, I won't go into detail about what Taylor and his mate find `below' the planet, but, even though it is a little weird sometimes, it is quite fun. It was certainly inventive for the time.

All in all, Beneath the Planet of the Apes is an enjoyable ride that falls victim of being a little uneven sometimes. Plus it would never entirely live up to the original due to being unable to match its predecessor's shock ending. Part 2 ends, in some people's opinions, unsatisfactory. I just thought it was different. But then the better part of the film was quite different, too.
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VINE VOICEon 19 April 2010
A monstrously nihilistic piece of cinema, `Beneath the Planet of the Apes' is the first and best sequel to the towering work of sf genius that is `Planet of the Apes': considering the low quality of the other sequels though, that may not be saying much. Absolutely reeking of the Vietnam war era in which it was produced, `Beneath...' is just as much a `death of the 60s' flick (much like, bizarrely, `Easy Rider') as it is a tale of futuristic dystopia. It tells of ill-fated astronaut Brent (Charlton Heston soundalike and lookalike James Franciscus), on a mission to locate Heston's Taylor in the post-apocalyptic simian wasteland of the first film. Accompanied by the much-abused Linda Harrison as mostly-mute Nova, Brent's search takes him to the ruined underground civilisation where masked mutant psychics worship a holy alpha-omega atom bomb. Meanwhile, brutishly stupid gorilla General Ursus (who sounds like a rabble-rousing Phil Silvers and wears a wonderful hat!) and orang-utan Doctor Zaius prepare to declare war on the Forbidden Zone, a war which leads Charlton Heston (sadly barely in the film) to take his misanthropic tendencies to the limit...

First, the plus points. The depiction of the underground civilisation is truly evocative, particularly the subway tunnels and the decimated New York Public Library. Nothing quite matches up to the Statue of Liberty from the first film, of course, but there are definitely some sumptuous and very memorable visuals. They've proved particularly influential too: the creators of video game `Fallout 3' definitely owe this film a debt of creative gratitude, what with the game's cult of bomb-worshippers and rather familiar depiction of post-apocalyptic train tracks. Similarly, the sequence in which the ape army is threatened by visions of flame and blasphemy also stays in the memory for some time. Franciscus (or mini-Heston) acquits himself well in what is basically a fill-in role, but the greatest sympathy is evoked by poor heroic Nova, the most likeable and ill-treated character in the film.

The downside? Some would tell you the first half of the film is the best and the second much weaker, but in fact, the opposite is true: the first half is nothing but a poorer retread of the first film (without even the wonderful Roddy MacDowall to compensate), whereas at least the subterranean section ventures into new territory. And then there's the ending: callous and frustrating, but likely deliberately so, and about as miserable a spectacle as sci-fi can deliver.

And yet... I mentioned the whole Vietnam vibe, which really lends this film a grim ambience. The apes' pointless war-mongering, their abuse of their own peacenik chimpanzee faction, the doomsday bomb as "holy weapon of peace" and saddest of all, the sacrifice of innocent Nova on the verge of becoming something greater: this is a deeply disillusioned piece of work which, although it may not be palatable, certainly has its own distasteful, mean-spirited impact. Not a film to really love then, but definitely one to experience. Did it need to be made at all though? Well, that's one for you to decide.
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on 15 May 2014
This is the second film in the Planet of the Apes series. To get it out of the way I'll start with the negatives - This film is nowhere near the class of the original, some of the "special" effects aren't all that special and the new central character Brent (played by James Franciscus) is merely a Taylor/Charlton Heston clone from the first film.

There is however much to like about this flick and is a decent enough way to spend 90 minutes. The opening scenes ape (pun painfully intended) the closing moments of the original film, we get to see the fantastic final reveal on the beach all over again. We then follow Taylor and Nova as they head off into the forbidden zone before Taylor strangely disappears. The focus switches to Brent another US astronaut who has also crash landed on the planet. He stumbles across Nova who is now all alone and together they search for Taylor while being helped or hindered by the local ape populace. Many other characters from the original are present and correct also (Dr Zaius, Zira, Cornelius etc).

Although it's not as good as the some of the other films in the series I still enjoyed the ride, the second half of the film tries something a bit different as we get to see a desolate underground New York. There's a couple of plot twists some will love and some wont but such is life. Also, those people wanting their Chuck Heston fix will get it if they wait long enough.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 6 July 2008
"Beneath The Planet of the Apes" is an unusual and often strange sequel to the classic original. This film sees another time travelling astronaut from Earth called Brent crash land on the planet and suffer a similar ordeal to Charlton Heston's Taylor, namely getting captured by the apes and managing to escape from them into the Forbidden Zone. The apes in "Beneath" invade the Zone in an attempt to root out any surviving humans and to extend their control. Brent and the apes eventually encounter a bizarre mutated band of humans in a subterranean hide out who worship a primed atomic bomb. Will it explode, will the apes succeed with their invasion or will Brent,Taylor and Nova calmly ride off into the sunset ? "Beneath" is an adequate sequel to a seminal science fiction film and I found it to be watchable and relatively entertaining.
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on 25 June 2014
This DVD, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, is the second movie, in the series, of the original set. The movie continues were the first one finishes, with Taylor and Nova in the 'Forbidden Zone.' Taylor suddenly disapears, leaving Nova to wonder alone. Time passes and another Space ship crash lands on the Planet of the Apes. Astronaut Brent is the only survivor of the crash. His mission, is a rescue mission, to find Taylor and his crew. Nova stumbles across Brent, in the 'Forbidden Zone' and the new adventure begins.

They find themselves under the streets of New York; or what's left of it. Warning! This movie has an explosive ending!

I've given this movie 5 full stars, and it's well worth it! If your a fan of the original Planet of the Apes movies, then this DVD, is for you!
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Very much a re-tread of the first Film with New Astronauts sent to find Taylor and his crew and the One remaining Survivor of this mission taking on the Furs and stubble to become nothing more than A Chuck Heston Clone.Chuck does appear at the beginning and end of this One but that's it.Its an eerie idea to include a group that are seemingly Human who have now come to worship the Great Bomb.The last unexploded weapon left from the Great War as if it were a statue of Christ on the Cross.Some of the scenery is very well done as are the make up effects.It loses its way a little as it treads a path we've already seen with the original but all in all a Strong Sequel.
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