Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

Director: Don Taylor

Starring: Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Bradford Dillman, Natalie Trundy, Ricardo Montalban, Sal Mineo, M. Emmet Walsh

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A New Generation Of Incredible Apes In The Most Exciting Suspense Film Of Them All

Plot: Landing in 20th century Los Angeles, three ape astronauts who have traveled back in time, are treated as curiosities and celebrities at first, but soon become hunted by a suspicious and fearful government intent on making them the subjects of an experiment that could alter the course of human and ape events.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Oh, yeah.

This is my favorite of the APES sequels. The one preceeding it, BENEATH, is OK as sequels go but this one goes off the fucking charts; it's one batshit insane flick. I suspect it seemed ridiculously stupid on paper but Don Taylor makes it work. It's loaded with humor and a surprising amount of intelligence (trust me, it's there).

Ricardo Montalban is simply magnificent (has he ever not been?) and a delight to watch. The climax of the picture is tight, engaging and tragic. It's hard to believe you could get choked up about actors in monkey suits but it's possible. ESCAPE isn't perfect but Paul Dehn's outrageously fun script, Don Taylor's direction, Jerry Goldsmith's playful score and fun performances by the leads make this one helluva enjoyable picture.

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