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A movie of two halves,
This review is from: Beneath The Planet Of The Apes [DVD] (DVD)A movie of two very distinct halves.
The first 45 minutes of this movie are a fairly well-handled reprise, picking up from where "Planet Of The Apes" left off. We return to the Ape City, and the Zira's house, and it returns to some of the political issues of the first film.
The handover from Charlton Heston to James Franciscus (a sort of Charlton Heston lookalike, but not without his own talent) is handled pretty well, it makes a kind of sense, with an unusual approach to using flashback sequences. It's a good job Charlton Heston was willing to be part of this movie, even if only for fifteen minutes, as it just about glues it together.
The second 45 minutes of the movie plummet into something else entirely. Without spoiling it too much, Brent manages to find an underground race of humans ('or are they?...') who worship an atomic bomb as their God. From that point on it's just a bunch of science-fiction cliches that could have been cobbled together from some of the less inspired episodes of Star Trek. There's telepathy, forcefields, silly costumes, and some pointless moralising about whether blowing everybody up with a big atomic bomb would be 'good' or 'bad'. It's eminently forgettable, and the ending, whilst fairly dramatic, is totally unsatisfying from a story point of view. What a waste.
This DVD edition has a handful of basic features- the theatrical trailer for every one of the 5 original Planet Of The Apes movies- but nothing essential.