Beneath The Planet Of The Apes is a direct follow up to The Planet Of The Apes and starts off with the last 5 minutes of the previous movie and shows us how life goes on after Taylor, the main character, discovering he was on Earth all this time. Soon after that he travels around with his mute female companion Nova wondering if they should start a colony and if their kids will be able to talk seeing as she can’t. But a scene full of bad special effects of fire and thunder has Taylor eventually disappear and Nova left to herself. Luckily for this damsel in distress another space ship has just crashed on this planet nearby and it contains a living astronaut who resembles Charlton Heston not only by his looks but also by his delivery of lines containing the word “Damn”. He’s named Brent and what took Taylor a whole movie to do and discover he does in half, so that the other half can cover the “Beneath” part of the title.
Beneath The Planet Of The Apes has a reluctant Charlton Heston reprising his role and being in the movie for only the first 10 minutes and the final showdown. His character was replaced by another astronaut who mentions how he’s on a rescue mission for Heston’s crew despite the fact that this was a one way trip as mentioned in the previous movie. Brent (James Franciscus) also crash-lands on future Earth, is the sole survivor and is brought up to speed pretty quickly about the dominant species and the way humans are treated. The movie shifts into new territory as Brent discovers and underground area where a lot of famous New York landmarks have come together apparently and where now mutated human survivors of the nuclear war form an underground society who are telepathic and worship a nuclear missile as their God.
Yeah that is indeed as stupid as it sounds.
On forehand I’d heard that these movies became progressively silly with each entry. Neglecting the goofy special effects in the beginning there is a clear point where this movie goes from serious to just that plain silly. It’s the moment when Brent meets the mutated humans and their culture and way of living is presented to us. These characters are goofy and the main mutant humans are easily defined by simplistic aspects: The main male character, a female, a fat one and a black one. Now they appear human but turn out to be wearing masks that hide their mutant skin which is blue-ish/transparent with their veins clearly visible. Underneath their masks they all look the same which makes their choice of mask simply a fashion statement. So the black mask then would probably be a gothic or punk mask now.
At the end Charlton Heston’s Taylor character pops up to team up with Brent. At one point I thought they would probably fight over Nova which still is an extremely hot chick. The fact that she doesn’t speak will some if not many men consider a bonus. In this weird underground temple they take on the apes and mutants who are both fighting as well. The ending is pretty definitive but also edited really weird. Not to give away much, but Heston pushes a button, the screen goes to black and there’s two or three line narration stating the outcome. My guess is they ran out of money for special effects and decided this was the way to go. Too bad people didn’t learn from this and gave Jurassic Park 3 the sudden ending it has anyway.
Beneath The Planet Of The Apes is at first more of the same on a lesser budget, then goes into weirdo territory and probably used the budget completely with ten minutes of movie left to make. This isn’t entirely crap movie and it never ventures into so bad it’s good, but it is a step down from the very good first movie, but the movie never gets boring, Jill Harrison’s scantily clad Nova is still very nice to look at and the return of many characters from the previous movie, even though some have nothing more than glorified cameos, make this a weird but watchable Planet Of The Apes movie.