I didn’t expect the tenets of religion to be questioned in a sci-fi movie. But, in Planet Of The Apes beneath the veneer of a planet ruled by apes are questions on faith and science. I watched the original 1968 version (there was a forgettable remake by Tim Burton in 2001). Taylor (an astronaut from Earth) survives a 18-month long space travel at light speed when his ship crashes on an alien planet. To his surprise, he finds that the planet is ruled by intelligent apes. Human-like beings are the beasts of the jungle here! He is hunted down like a wild animal by the apes and he loses ability to speak due to a vocal chord injury. Thankfully for him, he is rescued by Zira, an ape who is studying human behaviour. He captures the attention of Zira and her fiancée Cornelius and starts conversing with them in written form.
The ape couple are excited at the discovery of a human beast who is able to write and think. Strangely their boss Dr. Zaius, the head of Science and Faith (sic) is not happy. He plots to kill Taylor. Zira and Cornelius save him and escape to the Forbidden Zone pursued by Dr. Zaius. In the Forbidden Zone, they find human fossils and are able to prove that apes on this planet evolved from humans! Taylor goes out alone to find out the history and evolution of this planet. And he is in for a shocking revelation.
I loved the movie. It is based on the book Planet Of The Apes by Pierre Boulle. The story is splendid and has enough of surprises and intelligence all through. The ape-like facial expressions by the actors look genuine, de-emphasizing the clunky sets. The only letdown is the monotonous background music which sticks out like a sore thumb. Faith and science clash in the movie much like the Intelligent Design controversy of today. The revelation in the final iconic scene draws a fitting ending.