DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Ted Post
Charlton Heston, James Franciscus, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, Linda Harrison, Paul Richards
Writing Credits:
Pierre Boulle (novel, "La Planète des singes"), Mort Abrahams (story), Paul Dehn

The bizarre world you met in 'Planet of the Apes' was only the beginning ... What lies beneath may be the end!

The second installment in the Planet of the Apes series finds another astronaut (Franciscus) following in Heston's time-wandering footsteps to a planet ruled by highly evolved apes where he encounters a group of nuclear holocaust survivors living in Grand Central Station and worshipping the very atomic warhead that destroyed their world. Followed by Escape From The Planet of the Apes.

Box Office:
$3.0 million.
Domestic Gross
$17.489 million.

Rated G

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Monaural
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Spanish Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $25.00
Release Date: 11/4/2008

• Isolated Score
• “From Alpha to Omega: Building a Sequel” Featurette
• Trailer
• Galleries


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Beneath The Planet Of The Apes [Blu-Ray] (1970)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 2, 2015)

After the critical and financial success of 1968’s Planet of the Apes, a sequel became inevitable. That flick made it to the big screen in 1970 via Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

The movie’s prologue launches right at the end of the first story. We see Taylor (Charlton Heston) and Nova (Linda Harrison) as they go out to explore what’s left of the Earth.

We immediately cut to a crashed spacecraft. Only astronaut Brent (James Franciscus) survives, and he soon comes across Nova. She doesn’t talk, so she can’t explain what happened to Taylor, though Brent understands a link exists since she wears her man’s dogtags. We see some of Nova’s experiences via flashback. Brent insists that she take him to someone who can speak, and they end up back in ape civilization.

Just like Taylor, Brent comes fresh from 20th century society, so this setting surprises him. We meet General Ursus (James Gregory), a warmonger who wants to further explore what he perceives as dangers in the Forbidden Zone. He also promotes the hatred and fear of humans. This upsets Zira (Kim Hunter) and Cornelius (David Watson), Taylor’s pals from the first flick.

Brent hides from the other simians but catches up with Zira and Cornelius. They update him before he and Nova head off to the Forbidden Zone and a quest to locate Taylor. When they arrive, they find many exotic secrets and matters lead toward a conflict between human and ape.

A lackluster sequel, I find it hard to think of many positives to attach to Beneath. Actually, the flick’s biggest strength – for me, at least – comes from Harrison’s continued presence. She was an amazing babe, and she stills scorches here.

I like the minor expansion of our understanding of ape society as well. The film focuses more on elements of the Forbidden Zone, but we see a little more with the apes. Those parts become entertaining and intriguing, though they appear infrequently. Cornelius and Zira play surprisingly minor roles, and since Heston didn’t want to do a sequel, he barely pops up as well.

Which leads us toward a few of the movie’s main weaknesses. One comes from Heston’s essential absence. Brent is really the same role as Taylor; they just changed the name and circumstances to explain why we saw so little of Heston. We could easily replace Brent with Taylor and the movie would not change much.

In fact, it’d make more sense, since Brent accepts ape society awfully easily. In the original, Taylor found it tough to come to terms with intelligent, talking simians, but Brent seems to swallow this with little more than a resigned shrug. Granted, this helps ensure that Beneath isn’t just a remake of Apes, but it doesn’t seem too logical.

The film’s biggest revelations come when Brent finds out the secrets of the Forbidden Zone and what lies beneath the planet. I won’t specify these because I like to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say that the discoveries are massive disappointments. The movie keeps us mildly interested as we see the build-up to those events, but once we find out what’s down there, the flick becomes idiotic and silly.

Frankly, the movie’s story seems like little more than a series of political and social statements linked by some goofiness. Of course, the original offered similar commentary, but it did so much more effectively. This one turns heavy-handed and absurd before it concludes with an exceptionally dark ending. That finale should offer something impressive, but given the inanity that precedes it, the finish lacks bite.

And that goes for the rest of Beneath the Planet of the Apes as well. The film makes little sense and fails to intrigue or entertain when it does. It goes far out of its way to make its social points and lacks coherence or logic. I like the original Apes but find Beneath to be a disappointing successor.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

Beneath the Planet of the Apes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Only a few criticisms greeted this solid presentation.

With only minor exceptions, sharpness excelled. Some wide shots exhibited a little softness at times, but I didn’t find too many examples of those concerns. The vast majority of the flick demonstrated very good delineation and definition. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and no problems with edge enhancement manifested themselves. Source flaws also seemed very modest, as I noticed just a few specks along the way.

As was the case with the original Apes, Beneath went with a fairly restrained palette. It favored arid, earth tones and depicted those well. When bright colors popped up, they displayed nice vivacity and liveliness. Blacks seemed deep and firm, while low-light shots came across as clear and smooth. The light softness and occasional print flaw made this a “B”, but it remained pretty strong the vast majority of the time.

I also felt pleased with the film’s remixed DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. The soundfield opened up matters in a fairly impressive way when I considered the age of the material. The score showed good stereo imaging, while effects expanded nicely to the sides and surrounds. Some of the Forbidden Zone elements presented the best usage of the various channels, though battle scenes and gunfire worked well too. This was a reasonably active and involving track.

At times the audio was a little dated, but the sound appeared quite good for its age. Speech could be a little flat, but the lines were always intelligible and lacked edginess. Music tended to be lively and robust. Effects also showed nice definition and punch given the age of the elements. Overall, the audio didn’t tend to show its age and worked nicely.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD from 2006? Audio was a little better developed, as I thought the soundfield showed better balance. Visuals seemed tighter and cleaner as well. The old DVD was nice, but the Blu-ray provided improvements.

While the DVD included very few extras, the Blu-ray provides a few components. Though we get no commentary, we do find an isolated score. This provides Leonard Rosenman’s work in all its DTS-HD MA 5.1 glory. Fans will enjoy this bonus.

A featurette called From Alpha to Omega: Building a Sequel runs 22 minutes, 10 seconds and provides notes from Planet of the Apes Revisited author Joe Russo, 20th Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History author Aubrey Solomon, Planet of the Apes As American Myth: Race, Politics and Popular Culture author Eric Greene, Star Trek executive producer Brannon Braga, director Ted Post, Hollywood columnist James Bacon, and actors Linda Harrison and Don Pedro Colley. This piece covers the sequel’s roots and development, story/script/character topics, cast and crew, makeup, some behind the scenes controversies, and the film’s reception/legacy. “Alpha” goes over a good array of production subjects and does so in an efficient, brisk manner that makes it worthwhile.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find some Galleries. We locate “The Ape News” (three screens), “Interactive Pressbook” (6), “Advertising” (11), “Lobby Cards” (26) and “Behind the Scenes” (21). All are good, as they show a lot of interesting promotional material. The first two also let you take close-up views of text materials, which works well.

After the rich and exciting Planet of the Apes, its first sequel comes as a massive disappointment. It lacks an interesting story, compelling action, or much reason to exist other than as an excuse to make money. I guess it succeeded since they created three more Apes sequels, but I didn’t think much of Beneath. The Blu-ray provides mostly good picture and audio as well as a smattering of decent supplements. While I don’t think much of the movie, Beneath gets a nice release here.

To rate this film, visit the original review of BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES