Post-Apocalyptic Movie Bracket Game: Planet of the Apes Vs. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
It’s the end of the world as we know it. And I feel fine. In celebration of Mad Max: Fury Road, we’re getting post-apocalyptic. So get ready to fight off zombies, scavenge for goods and run for your life! And maybe spend some quality time in an abandoned mall or Bill Murray’s house. We’re looking at what happens in movies when society crumbles. Are we replaced by apes or pod people? Is Kevin Costner a fish person or a postman? Our dystopian future is up to you.
Voters kicked it old school yesterday. They gave the win to The Omega Man over I Am Legend. That means that Charlton Heston will face off against Clive Owen in Children of Men in round two.
In today’s match-up, we have two movies in which humanity is in danger of being replaced. In the 1968 sci-fi classic, Planet of the Apes, Charlton Heston plays an astronaut who crash lands on a planet where talking apes are in charge and humans are treated like cattle. In Philip Kaufman’s 1978 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, humans are secretly being replaced by communists, I mean pod people. But come on. They were basically communists, right?
Planet of the Apes was based on the Pierre Boulle novel of the same name. The movie has several differences from the book. In the original novel, the apes are more sophisticated than they are in the movie. For example, in the book the apes flew planes. An early script by Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling was more faithful to the source material. In an effort to reduce costs, Serling’s script was rewritten and the ape society was made more primitive.
The movie wasn’t just an ape show. It addressed several pressing concerns of the late 60’s like racial issues and the threat of nuclear war. It also dealt with more philosophical issues like what separates men from apes. Planet of the Apes was a hit with critics and audiences alike. It was awarded an honorary Academy Award for the then-revolutionary make-up effects. And it spawned a franchise that continues today.
The original Apes series consisted of five movies. It also inspired a TV show and a Saturday morning cartoon. Apes was also one of the first movie series to really embrace mass marketing. In the late 60s and early 70s, there were Apes toys, games, masks and T-shirts. Apes lunch boxes and coloring books. Pretty much anything you could slap an Ape on was sold in stores.
After the series faded, Fox spent years trying to revive it. Their first attempt resulted in Tim Burton’s re-imagining of Planet of the Apes in 2001. Burton tried to avoid repeating the original movie’s twist ending but felt the need to come up with a twist of his own for the reboot. Unfortunately, the new ending made no sense whatsoever.
The attempted reboot fell short so a second attempt to restart the franchise was made in 2011. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a hit. A follow-up in 2014, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, was also successful. A third movie is expected in 2017.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a remake of the 1956 film of the same name. Both movies are based on the 1955 novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. The book has been directly adapted to the big screen four times but it has also inspired a number of copy-cats.
The book and the movies deal with paranoid fears that others are different in some way. In the 50’s this was very much a product of the Red Scare. The 70’s version is more about the feeling of detachment that proliferated the decade. Leonard Nimoy played a celebrity shrink who attempts to analyze several character’s anxiety.
Both Planet of the Apes and Invasion of the Body Snatchers have terrific endings. I’m not going to spoil wither one of them here on the off chance that someone hasn’t seen these sci-fi classics. If you haven’t, go out and see them now. They are both terrific movies.