Planet of the Apes

“Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” Need we say more about our favorite post-apocalyptic film of 1968? In Planet of the Apes, the late Charlton Heston stars in his second most iconic role (after Ben-Hur), with Roddy McDowall surprisingly recognizable, and effective, under that Oscar-winning monkey makeup. Tautly directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, Apes belongs to the sci-fi genre of Earth-gone-wrong. It’s also a cautionary environmental movie, a parable of de-evolution, a sly satire against racism, and a bit of a Vietnam picture, too. Astronaut Heston and his crew, spun forward in time to a planet they don’t recognize, are quickly captured and humiliated by a foe whose society seems primitive in comparison to their own. There’s a lot of hubris to Heston, one of America’s physically proudest and most graceful leading men, and he has it all beaten out of him by the movie’s famous ending on the beach. 1968 was a year of crisis in the U.S., and Apes suggests—in its hugely entertaining popcorn fashion—that mankind might deserve its self-inflicted ruination. Screened on Blu-ray as part of SIFF’s weekend sci-fi fest, tonight’s double-feature includes Terry Gilliam’s underrated 1995 12 Monkeys (at 9:15 p.m.). Friday brings 2001: A Space Odyssey, followed by a double-feature of The Man Who Fell to Earth and Logan’s Run on Sunday. (PG) BRIAN MILLER

Thu., Jan. 28, 7 p.m., 2010

 
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