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Post-Apocalyptic Movie Bracket Game: Planet of the Apes Vs. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

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.

PA Movies

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.

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Posted on May 16, 2015, in bracket game, Movies and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. daffystardust

    I like both of these movies a lot. They are populist genre entertainment that somehow manage to also carry very serious themes. I did own a Planet of the Apes toy as a kid: a simple small plastic ape riding a horse and firing a gun. With no other apes in my toy collection, he just joined in on my reenactments of the Civil War and helped defend my Alamo play set. As an adult, the Donald Sutherland version of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers is the one that sticks to my ribs, though. That was one cynical way to celebrate the holidays in ’78.

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    • I like both movies a lot. Haven’t decided which way to go with this one. Every time I think about casting a vote for one I second guess myself.

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  2. I ended up throwing a vote to Body Snatchers to even things out a bit.

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  3. Rock the Casbah

    VERY tough vote for me. I think both these films are great and among the best in the sci-fi genre. Invasion is one of the best remakes ever (a very difficult task to accomplish). The original Apes is an iconic film. Both feature uncompromising endings rarely matched in cinema.

    I know there’s been a lot of interpretation as to what the Pod people in Invasion represent. Communists? Conformist American middle class society? A detached, alienated society? Like all great art, I think Invasion leaves that open to the viewer. All or any of those can work. Pod People can be a effective metaphor for any detached, conformist mass.

    With that being said, I voted for Apes. Although I hate NOT voting for Invasion, I just gotta go with Apes in this round. As I said, it’s that rare iconic film.

    Wow, it looks like old school Heston might go 2 for 2.

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  4. Craig Hansen

    I really hate voting for either film here, because in a way I feel like I’m also voting against a great film here which just makes me feel awful. I agree with Lebeau, if anybody here hasn’t seen either of these two films then you owe it to yourself to rent them, as they are both bloody brilliant entertainments. You really cannot go wrong here.

    I have a lot of love for the ’78 Body Snatchers remake, which is what I voted for. I own it on DVD and it’s a film I return to again every couple years. It’s one of the best paranoia-sci-fi films ever made, up there with the original ’56 version and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Matter of fact that might make for a fun, if disturbing, binge watch late at night. That might be too much paranoia for one person to handle!

    I hate to admit it but it’s been many years since I’ve seen the original Apes movie, and that’s something I plan to correct very soon. I’m putting it at the top of my rental list now.

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    • I love it when the bracket games impact reader’s viewing habits! It’s been a little while since I have watched the original Apes too. I’m probably due to revisit it. I actually enjoy the first three movies well enough. The latter two movies in the original series are really hard to get through.

      The ’78 Body Snatchers really holds up well. I was such a fan. The two more recent takes on the story were so disappointing.

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      • Craig Hansen

        My God yes, the Nicole Kidman/ Daniel Craig version from a few years back was pretty terrible. It had no bite to it, no reason for being. Hopefully the fact that it flopped so badly will keep Hollywood away from remaking it anytime soon.

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        • I wouldn’t mind a good remake. It seems very relevant in our paranoid times when the NSA really is keeping tabs on us. But if you can’t do at least as good of a job as the 78 version, there’s no point. That’s a pretty high bar to clear. But I wouldn’t mind the right director taking a swing at it.

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  5. The CineFiles: Invasion Of The Body Snatchers:

    “WARNING: this episode you are about to see does NOT feature the actual Cinefiles. These are actually replicants spawned from alien born pods. Although they may discourse on the original INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and its following remakes, do not be alarmed. Just watch the skies. Dear God, please watch the skies.”

    The CineFiles – The Planet of the Apes Series:

    We’re going ape about Planet of the Apes! The crew sit down to discuss the original Planet of the Apes series. We ran out of time, so we couldn’t discuss Tim Burton’s relaunch. We did a little mini review, but we had some technical issues, so we’ll need to re-tape it again in the near future.

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  6. I’m a fan of both films though I’m not sure I’d count Invasion as a Post-Apocolyptic film exactly. I think that genre deals with survivors picking up the pieces (or failing to do so) after collapse. Invasion is very much Ongoing-Apocolypse if that makes sense, the process of falling apart rather than the aftermath.

    (I’ll admit it’s a hazy distinction.)

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    • It is. I almost ruled out Invasion on that basis. It’s unclear at what point the scales have tipped against humanity. But there was just enough survivors on the run for me to give it a pass.

      Apes, I would argue, is 100% post apocalypse. It’s just not revealed as such until the end. But point taken that it’s a different kind of post apocalyptic movie than the zombie genre or Road Warrior type of movies. I did want to try to give a cross section of different kinds of apocalypse movies without going to far outside of the “post apocalypse”. Sometimes, it was a tough distinction to make.

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  7. Ernest Turriziani

    Planet of the Apes (1968 film version) is the greatest movie ever made.
    That film affected me for decades…the music…the cinematography…the dialogue..the apes
    …the acting…the beginning…the ending!!!!!

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