|The colorful poster for Don Taylor's Escape from the Planet of the Apes|
The most sympathetic ape couple in screen history, Zira & Cornelius were able to flee the nuclear holocaust of Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) with a third ape and travel through a warp in time. They arrive back on Earth in 1973 and are initially welcomed, - but it is to an atmosphere of intense fear and paranoia.
Just as the first sequel in the Apes franchise, Escape isn't an altogether successful film and a far cry from the masterful Planet of the Apes (1968). It does have some original ideas, and the story is carried ahead without the film seeming like a sell-out, mostly because it almost completely lacks the action scenes that the former films had. SPOILER It does, however, go out on a gloomy note similar to the first films.
A few reservations: SPOILER The character of Dr. Hasslein, who will go to great lengths to murder the apes for something their descendants will presumably do 2,000 (!) years in the future, is far out. As is the final scene with the baby Milo.
Most of Escape is mostly enjoyable as a type of involuntary comedy. It is written by Paul Dehn (The Taming of the Shrew (1967) and directed by Don Taylor (Echoes of a Summer (1976)).
The Apes franchise: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) or, Ape 3.1: Mad Apes!
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) or, The Final Ape!
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) or, The Ape Uprising
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) - Decent follow-up to the SF milestone
Don Taylor: Damien: Omen II (1978) - Mimicking follow-up is a true turkey
Watch an original trailer for the film here
Cost: 2 mil. $
Box office: 12.3 mil. $ (North America only)
= Huge hit
[Escape from the Planet of the Apes was released May 21 and runs 98 minutes. The script was devised to fit a smaller budget than the previous films by only having two actors dressed as apes. Shooting lasted just six weeks November 1970 - January 1971. Kim Hunter (Columbo (1971), TV-series), who plays Zira, liked the script better than the one for Beneath, but later remarked that she and Roddy McDowall (Angel 4: Undercover (1994)), who plays Cornelius, felt a sense of isolation during production, because they were the only two people dressed as chimpanzees. SPOILER She has also said that she was glad that her character was killed off in the film, so she wouldn't have to return to the Apes franchise. Escape opened to good reviews and box office; unfortunately, a world gross isn't made public, but it was certainly a huge hit. Two more sequels were created in the original iteration of the franchise: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973). Escape from the Planet of the Apes is fresh at 78 % with a 5.7 critical average on Rotten Tomatoes.]
What do you think of Escape from the Planet of the Apes?