The performances transcend the film's tropes, grounding it in characters that feel more complete than this subgenre often produces.
I cannot think of one single thing that I would change about this film. The acting is incomparable, the directing deft, and the writing poignantly brilliant.
The acting in this movie is really good.
Very good movie overall, highly recommended. Most of the negative reviews don't have any merit and are all pollitically based. Give this movie a chance at least, and it might give you a different perspective.
How could they mess up a sequel so badly? This was not nearly as entertaining as the first film. What are the chances of another craft crash landing on the same planet the same year? The religious and racist elements are annoying. The film gets utterly ridiculous as it progresses and finally becomes almost unwatchable. The telepathic humans said at one point it is primitive to speak, but later in the film talks to each other anyway. Why? The visual effects are quite laughable at times.
Give this film a skip.
"Beneath the Planet of the Apes" is nowhere near as good nor is it as insightful as the 1968 classic. This sequel is rushed in its story and production but the pace and the action make it worth sticking with. Charlton Heston is sorely missed as the original lead, as is Roddy McDowall as Cornelious. Even so, it's good to see Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans again in their respective characters. James Gregory is excellent as the power-crazy ape general whose only means of expression, is via aggression and wanton destruction. The leading man here is rather bland and not physically imposing enough. The violence is more explicit in "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" and I consider that unnecessary. Charlton Heston wasn't interested in appearing in this film to be begin with, until a compromise had been agreed upon. The reduction in budget is clearly in evidence. Some of the extras who are apes, are wearing quite cheaply made make- up. Luckily, the sets that were used for the previous film, were still in use. The studio had investments in a series of musicals but after these films failed to make any money at the box office, "20th Century Fox" had to reduce the budget on many of their subsequent films - including "Beneath the Planet of the Apes." I understand that this sequel did quite well at the box office. It's not a terrible film by any means, just as good as its predecessor.
Beneath The Planet of the Apes (1970) belongs in that list of sequels that could have been as good or even better than the original film. The first sequel to Planet of the Apes (1968) has two strikes against it. The film had only half the budget of the original film and Charlton Heston has a supporting part, while the screenplay was clearly written with his character as the lead. In those days a star did not do sequels, but apparently he was grateful for the success of Planet of the Apes that he did a cameo and donated his salary to charity. Heston became a science fiction icon and would go on in the seventies starring in the SF classics The Omega Man (1971) and Soylent Green (1973).The writers Paul Dehn and Mort Abrahams and director Ted Post took Beneath The Planet of the Apes serious enough and did excellent work despite these limitations. A couple of years later Ted Post would direct another sequel: Magnum Force (1973). The first Dirty Harry sequel which could also be rated as a sequel almost as good as the original.The first 30 minutes of Beneath The Planet of the Apes is a quick rerun of the plot of the original film, but when the lead characters get underground (hence the title), we get a first rate science fiction parable. The underground ruins of New York city are inhabited by mutated humans with psychic powers and worship an atom bomb as a God. This story line does make the ape race secondary characters in the second half.The ending is very nihilistic and seems like a very definitive ending to the series. But because of success at the box office and the ingenuity of the writers, we got three more sequels/prequels. All of them are very enjoyable, but nowhere near as powerful as this first underrated sequel.
Made two years after the original Apes movie, 'Beneath' spends the first half retreading old territory, before going off on a wacky tangent that leads to a unexpectedly downbeat and explosive finalé.After repeating the twist ending of the first film (Damn you! God damn you all to hell!), the film introduces astronaut Brent (James Franciscus), who has crash-landed on a desolate planet in the year AD 3955, having followed the trajectory charted by fellow NASA explorer Taylor (Charlton Heston). By a remarkable coincidence, Brent encounters Taylor's mute squeeze Nova (Linda Harrison), who takes him to Ape Town where chimpanzees Zira (Kim Hunter) and Cornelius (David Watson, replacing Roddy McDowell) inform him that Taylor has ventured into the wasteland known as the The Forbidden Zone.Nova and Brent leave the town as soon as possible, hoping to find Taylor, but are quickly captured by gorilla troops, who intend to use them for target practice; however, while being escorted to the shooting range, the pair manage to escape (with a little help from Zira), eventually finding sanctuary in a cave where Brent discovers the shocking truth: he is on Earth, the human race having finally 'pushed the button'.So far, so familiar. But then things take an unexpected turn
Following the strange noise emanating from deep within the cave, Brent and Nova discover a race of telepathic mutants whose first line of defence is the use of mental illusions, but who also worship an ancient and still primed Russian 'Doomsday' device. Brent also meets Taylor, who is being held prisoner by the subterranean freaks. When the gorilla army enters the forbidden zone and attacks the mutants, Brent and Taylor escape, but are shot during the mêlée. In a final act of defiance, Taylor activates the bomb.As much as I enjoy all of the entries in the original Apes series, 'Beneath' is must be considered a disappointment when compared with its excellent predecessor: the first half offers nothing absolutely nothing new, while the second half is just a little too silly for its own good, the most ridiculous moment being when the mutants take off rubber masks to reveal their true selves. Where exactly did they get the latex to make these convincing disguises? And more to the point, why did they make them?Beneath's apocalyptic ending suggests that this is the end of the apes, but they would soon be back by popular demand in the very enjoyable Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971).6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for IMDb.