Beneath the Planet of the Apes

The bizarre world you met in 'Planet of the Apes' was only the beginning... what lies beneath may be the end!

Year of Release: 1970
Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure
Rated: G
Running Time: 95 minutes (1:35)
Director: Ted Post


James Franciscus ... Brent
Kim Hunter ... Zira
David Watson ... Cornelius
Maurice Evans ... Dr. Zaius
Linda Harrison ... Nova
James Gregory ... Ursus
Paul Richards ... Mendez
Victor Buono ... Fat Man
Jeff Corey ... Caspay
Natalie Trundy ... Albina
Don Pedro Colley ... Negro
Charlton Heston ... Taylor


In the acclaimed sequel to Planet of the Apes, another astronaut crashes through the time barrier searching for Taylor. The daring rescue mission leads to a subterranean city where mutant humans, who practice mind control, worship a weapon capable of destroying the entire planet.


Beneath the Planet of the Apes, remindin' us that the freaks shall inherit the Earth.

And speakin' of havin' to put your face on for social gatherins, I'm tryna stay positive about 2023 but some people make it purt'near impossible to maintain an optimistic outlook. I mean, how come everyone assumes that just because a guy dresses up like a woman to bowl a few frames that he must be a homo groomer pedo queen tryna force kids to listen to Runaway Ralph against their will as part of some diabolical conspiracy to destroy Little League? I'll tell ya somethin' else too - Milt and Trudy Eaton's marriage was a doomsday clock about thirty seconds from midnight long before I... maybe I oughta back up and start at the beginnin'.

It's like this - alls I wanted to do was take a crack at the high score on BurgerTime and maybe watch Fannie Ogglesby get tanked and tear off all 'er clothes on New Years Eve at the Gutter Bowl. That's it. I was mindin' my own business, droppin' patties, duckin' Mr. Egg, and occassionally buyin' Fannie a Tequila Shooter when 'er glass ran dry, when Roxanne Bigelow poked 'er head into the arcade and started tryna distract me from claimin' what was rightfully mine.

"Can't talk now, Roxanne. There's a wiener tryna tempt my chef with colonary delights and he's approaching Weinstein levels of persistence," I explained, narrowly avoidin' a Mr. Hot Dog/Mr. Pickle gangbang.

"I don't wanna downplay the seriousness of your New Year's resolution to improve your station in the record books, but I've got a big problem here," she insisted.

"Come on Roxanne, what could possibly be more important than arcade immortalit--" I tried tellin' 'er when I was suddenly jumped by a rogue chicken embryo.

"I hope you're happy lady, now the citizens of Gameville'll NEVER get their orders," I bitched.

"What's your average?" she pressed, ignoring the invitation to my pity party.

"I dunno, 1,500,000. 2,000,000 if Shankles doesn't wake me up at 4:30 in the AM screamin' for food," I replied.

"I meant your BOWLING average," she clarified.

"Otis hasn't let me bowl since I bet Billy Hilliard he couldn't hit the wall behind the pins. I lost my bowlin' privileges and $5 that day, but it wasn't for nothin' 'cause we all learned a valuable lesson," I said.

"And what was that?" she humored, inspectin' the clock above the Q*Bert machine.

"Sheetrock that's been painted black is no substitute for steel," I grimaced, recallin' the scene in the unfortunately located employee lounge as witnessed through a Brunswick-sized porthole.

"Never mind that, are you any good?" she badgered.

"100. 120 if nobody's buyin' beer," I shrugged.

"Gonna be close," she muttered to herself, apparently lost in thought.

"If that's all I'd like to get back to crushing hostile foodstuffs into 8-bit bits," I said, diggin' around my pocket for another quarter.

"That's not all," she hissed, pullin' me over to the relatively quiet corner behind the Asteroids cabinet.

"Mystie can't make it tonight, we've got a game against the Bowldozers in 20 minutes, and I can't find a substitute 'cause every year when Fannie drops in to shake 'er namesake all the women clear out," she explained, makin' a Vanna White motion with 'er arm to further illustrate her point.

"Why not just ask Fannie?" I suggested.

"She seems occupied with her modemless Only Fans stream and besides that she's kinda got 'er hands full," she summarized as Fannie ascended the pool table and began cuppin' 'er casabas.

"So she does. Um, well, what about her?" I proposed, pointin' toward the bar.

"That's Richard Fawner," she smirked, stiffling a snort.

"Seriously?!" I squinted. "Oh for cripes sake - shaved his legs and everything this year. That's false advertising!" I yelled in Richard's general direction.

"So you'll do it?" she asked.

"Do wha--" I started to ask before I finally realized what she'd been workin' up to.

"No way. I love ya, Rox, I do, but I do have a LITTLE pride," I grumbled. "There's gotta be somebody else."

"No! There isn't!" she barked, her voice cracking ever so slightly.

I scanned the alley from one end to the other, frantically lookin' over the male stock in attendance for a better option; looking away briefly as Dusty Funk burped up a quarter glass of Pole Cat onto his "I'll Fuck the Fat Friend" t-shirt, and once more when Talon Higgle tackled Vick Haughton and and held 'im down long enough to uncork what I'd like to believe was just a fart directly into his face.

"I see your point," I conceded.

"So you'll help?" she lit up.

"What if somebody comes over?" I complained.

"You think they're gonna take their eyes off that?" she scoffed, gesturing toward the arcade where Fannie'd started slidin' a pool cue into 'er britches.

"No. No I don't believe they will," I sulked.

"Come on then! We've got nine minutes to doll you up!" she squealed, pullin' me into the women's room for my for my gender reassignment perjury.

Roxanne didn't wanna take any chances about the gender bending so she decided not to tell any of 'er teammates what was goin' on, which in retrospect, mighta been a mistake. I get it though - she couldn't risk a disqualification, which was fine by me 'cause if Mavis Crenshaw or any of the Bowldozers found out the whole county woulda known in half an hour and I'da had to move to Nova Scotia and take a job drivin' a zamboni.

So anyway, she shaved my sideburns, grabbed me a blouse outta her car, stuffed the cups fulla toilet paper, conned Richard Fawner outta his brunette wig (the assumption that night seemed to be that gentlemen prefer blondes), and pulled off an Extreme Makeover that coulda kept that dumpster fire of a show on the air another three seasons. I shit you not - Roxanne coulda tought Lon Chaney a thing or two about makeup application, and she did it in eight minutes while explainin' that I was gonna be 'er cousin Stacy from Winnemucca who just happened to be visitin' when Mystie took ill. Hopefully Mystie's just got the flu and not mornin' sickness from one of 'er barely legal high school conquests.

"Well, whaddya think?" she asked, clearly impressed with her handiwork.

"Eh. I guess I'd fuck me. Ya know, at last call on a Tuesday," I shrugged.

"Oh stop it, you look great! Let's go!" she beamed, pullin' me down to the lanes.

Cleave Furguson dropped by for a few minutes to watch the game between taxidermy projects and I don't mind tellin' ya I didn't care for the look he gave me one bit, but that wasn't even close to the worst thing that happened. Musta been 'round about the fourth frame when Roxanne's captain, Trudy Eaton, began to appreciate my... uh... form, and I dunno if it was the Pole Cat or just bein' married to Milt for 30 years, but by the eighth frame it'd become pretty clear that the lane was open if I was interested in buffin' it.

We beat the Bowldozers by 11 pins (I rolled a pitiful 94, but Trudy was able to pick up my slack with the help of a little added enthusiasm if ya know what I mean and I think you do) and by then Trudy'd let slip that she'd like to go somewhere and "celebrate."

Now, I should start by sayin' Trudy's a pretty solid 8/10, which's about 1.5 points higher'n I'm used to gettin' and so I was thinkin' pretty seriously about joinin' the afterparty even though I knew there'd be trouble the moment she dug into my bra lookin' for anything other'n someplace to blow 'er nose. 'Course that didn't stop me from tryna convince myself that she'd figured out that I was a dude and just hadn't said nothin', but after serious consideration I decided I'd rather not have Milt find out and start usin' my hinder for the punt, pass, and kick competition.

Easy come, easy go, that's how it was supposed to end. I figured what the heck - Roxanne was happy, so I'd just duck into the can, scrub that crap off my face, and hopefully be dressed in time to see Fannie count down to midnight with 'er thighs. Unfortunately, Trudy couldn't wait to grab a motel, and when I went to change she was waitin' for me. I'm not made of stone. Well, I mean, part of me was, but-- look, she came onto me, okay?

We did put that theory about her figurin' out my gender identity beforehand to rest though, and when she found somethin' she wasn't expectin' she screamed like she'd just gotten a duct tape bikini wax.

If I'd known 'er husband was in the men's room I never woulda let it go that far, but that's when the plot thickened up like a pot of day ole pea soup. Ordinarily findin' your wife's bra in the teeth of another woman'd be upsettin' enough, but about 20 seconds after Milt heard the scream and came to investigate the strangest thing happened - Richard came trailin' after 'im; his wig and skirt both noticably askew.

"Where're you going?! We only got halfway around the world!" Richard whined, tugging at Milt's unfastened belt.

Roxanne got me out the side door before the resta the alley saw what was goin' on, but suffice to say Trudy and Milt have a few kinks to work outta their relationship. As for me, my New Year's resolution is to stop bein' so damned desireable, although if last night was any indication it's a fool's errand.

You'd almost hafta be part of the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl LI squad to experience a night more disappointin' than the one I had, but I've found throughout the years that when you're feelin' like life couldn't possibly get any more depressing, a Planet of the Apes flick'll always help put your situation into perspective, and Beneath ranks pretty high on the ole meloncholy meter. I guess they felt like a universe where man's been overrun by super-intelligent apes and driven back into the jungle to subsist on whatever he can find growin' on trees just isn't bleak enough, so they went ahead and tried to imagine what the Far Side would look like if Gary Larson'd drawn the entire series while on suicide watch in a mental asylum and used that to round out the endings.

You'd think with a process like that that only a schizophrenic could locate a teachable moment inside all this madness, but until a formal diagnosis is made I dispute that notion and submit the following observations as evidence that you don't need a thousand monkeys working at a thousand typewriters to produce brilliance. First, if your wife's keepin' another man's underwear in 'er closet it may be too late for marriage counseling. Second, space programs could save a lotta money on astronaut training by installing landing gear on its shuttles. And third, if you're gonna be two-faced maybe don't show the one that looks like a microwaved testicle to God.

The movie begins where Planet of the Apes left off with Chuck Heston and the Cro-Mammalicious Nova wanderin' the desert like they're doin' reshoots for Ben-Hur, only Jesus never shows up to offer 'em water and they run afoul of a towering inferno that stops 'em in their tracks until an unseen schnozzled Moses parts the badlands for no apparent reason. It could just be his breechcloth but Chuck's pretty sure he smells a rat, so once the supposed fire magically dies down he gives Nova his dog tags and tells 'er that if he doesn't come back to find Zira and instruct 'er to have all his worldly possessions put up for auction at the annual NRA fundraiser before walkin' up to an illusionary alluvial deposit and fallin' through it while Nova stares agast with this look on 'er face like she just tore the scab off a saddle sore in a particularly tender location. Next thing, James Franciscus crash lands a second spaceship sent to locate Chuck, but before he can go searchin' for 'im he hasta bury his captain after the guy abruptly grasps the concept of time dilation and its effects on members of his immediate family. Fortunately, it's a small world after all, and a few minutes later Nova comes ridin' over the hill wearin' Chuck's dog tags. James asks 'er to take 'im to Chuck but his Babbel lessons only covered Pleistocene Era proto-human sign language and so Nova gets confused and takes 'im to Ape City where Generalissimo Bonzo (Ursus) is givin' a speech about how he's come up with a final solution to deal with the human problem while Dr. Zaius sits there wonderin' if all those ape supremacist lectures he gave at the high school had somethin' to do with this.

James and Nova decide to duck out before Ursus kicks off his limited edition trading card pitch and they go hide out at Cornelius and Zira's place while the couple debates whether or not to apply for Swiss citizenship. Then Dr. Zaius drops in to tell 'em he's headin' off to investigate why the Forbidden Zone got all Twilighty and basically he's so desperate to hold onto his Apeiscopalian theocracy that he's willin' to temporarily ally 'imself with a buncha woke counter-culture hippie chimps if it means avoidin' gorilla warfare. Cornelius and Zira really don't wanna hafta explain why the house reeks of lower primate, so once Zaius splits they hook James up with the latest fashion trends for Homo Simpletons and tell 'im that if he gets captured to plead the fifth or else he's gonna wake up in a laboratory with half his organs illegally transplanted into the bodies of high-ranking government officials. Unfortunately, the military budget seems to be the only thing unaffected by the recent banana famine, and James and Nova only make it about 300 yards before the monkey brass grab 'em and load 'em into a livestock trailer for target practice. Fortunately, Zira sees what's goin' on and unlocks the door so James can climb on toppa the cage and get monkey flipped all over the roof until the buggy passes under a low bridge and the driver gets knocked on his Australopithecan.

Then James and Nova take off on horseback and get chased around by more baboon goons until they hafta ditch their horses and crawl into a cave that opens up into a subway tunnel where James is able to read the writing on the wall and discover that not all fascist governments keep the trains runnin' on time. It's a durn thirsty business keepin' one step ahead of the Viet Kong, so by the time James and Nova locate a Humans Only water fountain in the remains of Grand Central Terminal they start suckin' down H2O like dehydrated dromadaries until this psychic psycho wave takes over James' brain and tells 'im Nova's only with him 'cause Chuck didn't wanna do a sequel and that she'll ditch 'im the moment she finds another chunkhead with a bigger club. Next thing he knows he's dunkin' 'er like a hungover clown at a cut rate carnival and it's lookin' like Nova's bobbers're about to be sunk permanently until James manages to wrench back control of his senses and get the heck outta there before he exceeds the limitations of 'er waterproof mascara. Then things get awkward when he walks in on this ammosexual who's pledgin' his allegance to a nuclear warhead in the next room and the guy gets so embarrassed that he has James hauled in front of a tribunal of telepathic arms dealers who go spelunkin' around his fissures lookin' for information. They're fairly reasonable until he mentions Ape City and they all panic and start firin' tinnitus torpedos into his brain tryna make 'im spill the details of the bonobian battleplan, only he won't tell 'em what he knows and so they bring Nova in and force 'im to squeeze 'er nubile young neck until he caves and tells 'em Wonky Kong's forces are massin' on their border with bellies fulla chili and pitchin' arms at the ready.

Then the Dukes of Nuke throw up some heavy hallucinatory iconography that makes it look like a buncha apes've been crucified upside down and set on fire as Ursus' army approaches, only they overplay their lobes and project a vision of a bleeding Lawgiver and Zaius' fanaticism instantly overcomes the evidence of his eyes and he takes a gallop of faith directly into the flames which dissipate as he passes through. The cavern cult has pretty well reached the Kool Aid chugging phase of their little social experiment and so they make preparations to launch their intercontinental ballistic deity at Ape City, but first they hafta peel off their faces until the room looks like an irradiated scrotum convention to prove how far they're willin' to go to avoid learnin' a lesson. Meantime though, the head chemo cultist decides to lock James up in a cell with Chuck and reiterate their civilized philosophy about doin' no harm when you can get lower forms of life to do it for ya, and pretty quick James and Chuck're tryna bury spiked clubs in each other's hinders as the apes come pourin' into the cathedral like a mob of Atheists durin' the rapture. I'm gonna spoil the ending if I go much farther'n this, but I'll assume that if you're watchin' Planet of the Apes flicks in the dead of winter you've built up suitable defenses against seasonal depression and know what to expect.

Alrighty, well, it would seem that Fox hadn't figured out what a juggernaut they had on their hands with the Planet of the Apes franchise given that they sliced the budget in half before filming was to begin and then ended the flick as emphatically as possible. The budget was originally 5 million before they dialed it back to somewhere between 2.5 and 3 million after a series of flops got Fox's stockholders in a tizzy, and it's amusing to think that, even if they hadn't cut the budget it still woulda netted a coupla million after just two weeks in theaters. It's pretty clear that they believed they were takin' a chance with a sequel, as the studio chose to greenlight a script that was essentially the exact same movie with a new threat added in, and for that reason it's considered by many to be among the weaker entries in the series. They did eventually come to understand the series' value after an inferior sequel pulled in over six times its budget; immediately goin' to work tryna write their way outta the hole they'd dug themselves and releasing Escape from the Planet of the Apes the following year after devising an even bleaker ending.

Interestingly, Pierre Boulle, who wrote the original Planet of the Apes novel, wrote a screenplay called Planet of the Humans where the Taylor character rallied the primitive humans in a revolt against the apes, but the studio was too chicken to make it until a few years later when they flipped the script and produced Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, with a lone intelligent ape leading an insurrection against humanity. Precisely the same idea, only this way they didn't hafta pay Boulle for the rights to his screenplay. It's entirely possible that Fox wasn't ready to go down that path just yet on the basis that doing so would cost them their G rating, and yes, somehow every entry in the original Planet of the Apes series except Conquest (which featured the armed revolt scenario) was able to secure one despite fairly gruesome demises of principal characters. Only in the '70s could you make a movie about a war between genocidal apes and irradiated mutant warhawks and get the same rating as Cinderella - what a time to be alive.

Anyway, let's get out our shovels and find out if this thing really is beneath The Planet of the Apes, or whether it just gets dogpiled on for bein' too much like the original. The plot is gonna put most peoples' suspension of disbelief to the test with humanity's surprisingly precise targeting of time/space anomalies and landing coordinates, even before they find out about the irradiated humans living below the planet's surface for centuries and worshipping a still active nuclear weapon that survived the total annihilation of the city directly above thanks to some shrewd individual who stored it securely in the New York City subway system. On the plus side, knowing what we know now, we can all look forward to going from a society where ya can't take toenail clippers on an airplane to one where we feel secure enough to stockpile doomsday warheads next to a public transit terminal. Probably not a good thing when a subterranean cult's development of tekekinetic mind control powers through exposure to radiation doesn't make it onto a list of the flick's top three absurdities, and as it is, Linda Harrison's immaculate application of Stone Age cosmetics and superb underwire support seem downright plausible comparatively.

The acting isn't up to the standards of the first flick due to the greatly diminished significance of the returning cast, but James Franciscus gives it his all, knowin' full well mosta the audience is gonna dump on 'im for failin' to live up to Heston's performance in the original film. You'd be within your rights to complain about the absence of Roddy McDowall (who was off directin' a Scottish witchcraft flick in the U.K.), but realistically the roles of both Cornelius and Zira were whittled down almost to the point of insignificance, and Maurice Evans' Dr. Zaius doesn't fare much better. It's kinda interesting how, by design, the plot follows the original so closely, yet Franciscus is asked to carry the vast majority of the flick despite having an incredibly accomplished supporting cast at the ready. I intend no disrespect, but I don't think anyone would suggest Franciscus was in Heston's league as an actor, and yet, Heston's character spends roughly half an hour unable to speak in the original movie, allowing the supporting cast to establish their characters and build chemistry. And yet in this sequel, with its vastly inferior script, Franciscus is largely on his own due to the nature of Linda Harrison's role and the choice of the screenwriter to deemphasize characters that fans of the original movie will have wanted to see. This criticism does not include the film's use of Heston, who didn't really buy into the idea of sequels and only agreed to take the part if his character disappeared in the early going, but all the same, the supporting cast is completely wasted and it really hurts the flick.

Here's who matters and why ('sides Chuck 'cause he's the MVP of the post apacalypse): James Franciscus (The Valley of Gwangi, The Cat 'O Nine Tails, The Last Shark, Night Kill, Killer Fish, Night Slaves), Kim Hunter (Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Two Evil Eyes, The Kindred, Bad Ronald), Maurice Evans (Rosemary's Baby, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, The Six Million Dollar Man: The Solid Gold Kidnapping, Terror in the Wax Museum, The Body Stealers), Linda Harrison (Planet of the Apes 1968, Planet of the Apes 2001, Cocoon I & II), Paul Richards (The Unknown Terror, Phantom of the Rue Morgue), Victor Buono (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Evil 1978, The Mad Butcher, The Strangler), Jeff Corey (The Lottery 1996, Conan the Destroyer, The Sword and the Sorceror, Battle Beyond the Stars, Curse of the Black Widow, Something Evil 1972, Seconds, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man), Natalie Trundy (Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes), Don Pedro Colley (THX 1138, Sugar Hill, Piranha 1995, Quest of the Delta Knights), Tod Andrews (From Hell it Came, The Baby, Return of the Ape Man, Voodoo Man), Eldon Burke (Planet of the Apes), Gregory Sierra (Vampires 1998, Donor, The Clones), Army Archerd (Escape from the Planet of the Apes, repossessed, Hyper Sapien: People from Another Star, Planet of the Apes).

Plus: James Bacon (Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Capricorn One, Planet Earth, Sssssss, Skullduggery 1970), Stan Barrett The Lord of the Rings 1978), Erlynn Mary Botelho (Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes), Maxine Botelho (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes), Paul Frees (voice acting: The Hobbit 1977, Return of the King 1980, The Ghost of Flight 401, The Milpitas Monster, Colossus: The Forbin Project, King Kong Escapes, Dimension 5, Frankenstein vs. Baragon, The Night Walker, Blood and Black Lace, Tower of London 1962, Gorath, The Magic Sword, The Time Machine 1960, Jack the Ripper 1959, Gigantis the Fire Monster, Space Master X-7, The H-Man, The Monolith Monsters, The 27th Day, Beginning of the End, Rodan, The Sword and the Dragon, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Godzilla King of the Monsters, Serpent Island, The War of the Worlds 1953, When Worlds Collide, The Thing from Another World), Hank Robinson (Capricorn One, Futureworld, Embryo, Helter Skelter 1976, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, The Night Strangler, Slaughterhouse-Five).

Mainstream credits: Kim Hunter (Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, Nola Madison on The Edge of the Night), Maurice Evans (Maurice on Bewitched), Paul Richards (Dr. McKinley Thompson on Breaking Point), Victor Buono (King Tut on Batman: The Series), James Gregory (Senator John Yerkes Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate, Barney Ruditsky on The Lawless Years, Inspector Frank Luger on Barney Miller), Jeff Corey (Sheriff Bledsoe in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969, Wild Bill Hickok in Little Big Man, Tom Chaney in True Grit 1969, John Asgeirsson in The Boston Strangler, Mr. Hickok in In Cold Blood), Thomas Gomez (Key Largo), Gregory Sierra (Julio Fuentes on Sanford and Son, Det. Sgt. Chano Amenguale on Barney Miller, Carlos Valdez on Soap), Paul Frees (voices of George Harrison and John Lennon on The Beatles 1965 series).

The special effects had to be scaled back due to the reduction in budget, and this becomes apparent anytime there are more than about five apes on screen as the extras were frequently relegated to the use of pullover masks. John Chambers and his crew did return to reapply the landmark prosthetic makeup he pioneered two years earlier and it looks every bit as good when applied to Hunter, Evans, and James Gregory (Ursus). Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the full-bodied ape suits Evans and Gregory wear in the sauna scene, as each is comically oversized, shaggy, includes fairly large pieces of reflective plastic. This is particularly unfortunate given that the suits were created specifically for use in a scene that could have taken place anywhere. It's pretty funny to think about the two actors tryna maneuver around the set in those ridiculous get-ups, though. For the sequence where Heston is beset by hallucinations there're two composite shots - one of a firewall, and one involving lightning strikes (the former coming across well and the latter looking cartoony and rather ridiculous), after which there's an earthquake that tears the landmass apart and creates a canyon, and that effect is excellent. Additionally, the mutant makeup is simplistic but competent, and there're also some absolutely brutal gunshot wounds that not only look great but get an unusually lengthy amount of screentime in this G rated family feature. So kind of a mixed bag here.

The Ape City sets look to be holdovers from the first flick, while the mutants' council chamber was recycled from Hello, Dolly!, but for the most part all of the film's sets are well constructed with only the occassional construction that might reasonably draw a comparison to something used on Star Trek. In other words - you've seen 'em before, and they hold up. The exterior sequences involving horseback chases and the crashed space ship were filmed in Red Rock Canyon State Park and Malibu Creek State Park, and although the desert scenes don't measure up to the alien look of the scenes filmed in Utah and Arizona for the first flick, they're still more-or-less geographically compatible with the regions we've seen to date. No reimaginings, no redesigns - what you saw in the original you shall see again, and the production design and cinematography are well executed.

The soundtrack is remarkably similar to Goldsmith's original scoring of the original '68 flick and does a phenomenal job of reconnecting the audience to the fictitious world where apes rule and men drool. Rosenman uses all the same instruments Goldsmith used and manages to maintain that same air of mystery and uncertainty despite the audience's familiarity with the universe and its characters. The music maintains a light atmosphere that keeps the viewer slightly on edge and always curious about what's coming next without resorting to loud blasts designed to create jump scares. Rosenman's composition is as effective as it is simple, and the score maintains exactly the right tone for the movie's Rated G audience without ever having to take the kinds of shortcuts you'd expect to hear in the soundtrack for a low budget horror or action flick. Some might consider it samey but I think most people heading out to see a sequel because they enjoyed its predecessor want and appreciate a certain degree of congruency, and this score wastes no time in bringing the viewer right back to that desolate world where we last saw Chuck Heston cursin' humanity.

Overall, Beneath the Planet of the Apes is the third best in the original series, although it's probably my favorite of the sequels strictly because it comes closest to recapturing the feel of the first movie. The plot's got problems, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans aren't utilized anywhere near their potential, and due to budget constraints the special effects aren't what they were in the first flick, but it'll always be the Planet of the Apes film that picked up where the all-time classic left off. No doubt it benefits a great deal by riding the coattails of the best flick of the 1960s, but the "how" doesn't really matter, and it's still holdin' strong 52 years later. Check 'em all out, marathon style.

Rating: 79%