George Taylor is an astronaut who was part of a crew that crash landed on a planet after waking from deep hibernation. Finding out the year was 3978 making it two thousand and six years after leaving earth. The planet they have crashed on has intelligent talking apes who are the dominant species with humans oppressed and enslaved whilst also being mutes.
Taylor has big problems when he is captured by the apes that he had damaged his throat so couldn’t actually speak to the apes. Something that they didn’t expect anyway as men on this planet were pre-lingual and uncivilised with the apes being dominant with speech and also technology. This certainly makes for some uncomfortable viewing as we know he can talk, even though he writes things down to Zira who really fights to study him further.
Zira and Cornelius become friendly with Taylor and that was something that I really enjoyed within the story. It felt as though they thought that both species could co-exist. They were the only ones who felt that way with the rest of the apes believing that they were superior to men. I guess that is something that makes it strange to watch with humans being seen as the lesser species. That makes the viewer really engage with Taylor and willing him to keep fighting throughout.
He is put in a cage with a female who he names Nova, who cannot speak at all and that is probably one of the strangest parts of the plot. As it showed that the apes were then trying to breed humans by placing them together in cages, doesn’t that make you think and wonder about what humans do to animals in cages within zoos and other areas? Given this is something that has been done for many years, to flip that to humans is interesting to watch and then think about.
The scene when he can eventually speak again is rather powerful and that was something that I throughly loved. I have to admit that while this was my first viewing I knew the ending twist but happy to confirm that even knowing that did not take anything away from it. An amazing end to the film and the realisation when Taylor has it confirmed just which planet he is actually on. I guess it has become one of the most spoilt twist/endings in film but the execution of it is remarkable.
Charlton Heston puts in an inspired performance and really leads the film in the best possible manner. That was a big highlight of the film that is for sure, it must have been a little strange acting opposite everyone else in the ape costumes! Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter were the best in terms of those acting as an ape, both giving powerful moments that were very enjoyable. Maurice Evans was a total scene stealer as well as Dr. Zaius who knew a lot more than he would admit to in the beginning!