5 items from 2017
If Matt Reeves’ much-anticipated “War on the Planet of the Apes” (20th Century Fox) opens Friday to an expected $70 million or more, that would put it ahead (in domestic returns at least) of such recent high altitude-franchise stumbles as “Alien: Covenant,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Transformers.”
Several factors contribute to the elevated respect for the series, going back almost half a century to when the first film, never intended as anything other than a standalone, became a surprise success in 1968.
Let’s track some curious highlights on the unusual trajectory that brings us to the ninth entry in the longest running English-language film series other than James Bond:
The Genesis Was a Stand-Alone Novel
- Tom Brueggemann
Author: Cai Ross
The original Planet of The Apes movies occupied a curious netherworld of critical opinion. With each film, the budget was sawn in half, leading to a successive pattern of diminishing returns that led to a cheapening of its esteem. The spin-off TV show was quickly cancelled, further dulling the lustre and few people even remember the animated series that finally put the Apes to bed until a rude awakening in 2001.
However, for all their child-pleasing capers (the family-friendly G rating was a mandatory stipulation from the studios), the Apes movies deftly juggled important themes and arguments about slavery, free-will, nuclear war, vivisection, racism and oppression, and man’s innate capacity for cruelty. In pure storytelling terms, the circuitous plot links the first five movies (and the new post-Rise cycle) into a pleasing, if relentlessly pessimistic, self-perpetuating full-circle.
Enormous box office successes in their early stages, they spawned »
- Cai Ross
Alien: Covenant is a strange hybrid of Prometheus and the original Alien. If you thought adding "Alien" to the title was a sign that director Ridley Scott was in some way erasing Prometheus or righting the ship after fan response to that film, you're dead wrong. Prometheus is essential viewing before seeing Alien: Covenant. Though the film steps into far too familiar territory with the return of eggs, facehuggers, and the Xenomorph -- all seen in the trailer -- it is still Prometheus 2; not so much a prequel to Alien as continuation of the last film and a set-up for whatever comes next. It delivers plenty of blood, gore, and fantastic scares, but falls short in terms of characterization, narrative, and pacing.
The title refers to the colony ship, Covenant, just as Prometheus was named after the featured spacecraft in that film. The Covenant is unlike the ships we've »
- Nick Doll
The Planet of the Apes franchise started as a movie adaptation of the 1963 French novel entitled La Planète des Singes. That original 1968 film was a hit in theaters, and spawned 4 direct sequels. After many attempts to bring another Planet of the Apes film to theaters, Tim Burton finally put the pieces together with his 2001 “re-imagining” of the original film. In 2011, a new Planet of the Apes franchise started with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which told a new story with similar themes and ideas. War of the Planet of the Apes is the latest film of the series, and will be released in theaters on July 14th of this year. War will be the 9th film »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (G.S. Perno)
The Twilight Zone series stands as the benchmark for weird, wonderful, and creepy TV viewing. Many shows and movies have tried to duplicate its moralistic mysteries with varying results. Night Slaves is a charmingly odd TV movie not only cut from the same cloth, but with ties to it as well.
Originally airing as an ABC Movie of the Week on Tuesday, September 29th, Night Slaves duked it out with Hee Haw/To Rome with Love on CBS and the NBC Tuesday Night at the Movies and had no issues with either; the telefilm, while heading down that sci-fi road, managed to lacquer a few coats of soapy romance on as well, hitting all of the prime time sweet spots.
Let’s peruse our TV Guide and see what’s going on:
Night Slaves (Tuesday, 8:30pm, ABC)
A man recovering from a near fatal car accident ends up with »
- Scott Drebit
5 items from 2017
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