Looking back on.. Return to the Planet of the apes
Planet of the Apes was one of the most successful franchises in its day having 5 movies total in its original run a TV show and even a cartoon. Since then it’s also one of the few franchises that was able to have a reboot as successful as the original but today we’ll only talk about the animated show that The Planet of the Apes had and why it deserves to have that name.
The show is not in direct continuity with the movies, but this is not some Saturday morning kid friendly version of the franchise. In fact it doesn’t really feel at all like a cartoon for kids most of the time. There is an ongoing plot and continuity within episodes as well as complex relationships. Some episodes do fall into the children’s cartoon mold but I was surprised by how different it felt.
The show is rather dark, in fact the intro is rather scary and features upside down crucified apes! It also has that 70s color thing that was popular at the time and somehow makes it all seem creepier. It’s almost as if the target audience was adults which the show seems to struggle with and doesn’t know what it wants to be.
The animated Planet of the Apes show tells a new but similar story and through out the first few episodes you’ll see enough stuff that resembles or adapts the first two movies but it also has stories that continue from there. So in a way it gets to explore some ideas that the movies were never able touch upon which is great, sadly they aren’t fully fleshed out and the on going story never got any closure.
The Apes society in the show is much more civilized than the ones seen in the movies as they are more Roman inspired and even have vehicles which they use. While the movie look worked great as a lesson that they went back to the basics, it really is rather creepy to see Apes doing stuff that modern humans do, it almost makes it more relatable and shocking for that same reason.
We also get to see some of the wild life of the planet and how crazy it is, it also goes a bit in the crazy mode with this giant ape protector that lives in the mountains who we see in two episodes. The show does a lot to world build whether by showing their version of the mutants or just other parts of of ape society or the present world which the other movies don’t dwell into. Here we can see full reactions from stuff like when they realize they’re on future earth and not another planet.
I really wanted to find a way to fit this movie in continuity with any of the films but it really does try to tell its own story. The closest we can get to squeezing it in an established movie continuity would be the Tim Burton remake since the twist ending in that movie was seeing a modern Ape society. Now that is a society that could’ve evolved from the one we see int his universe, but it’s kind of a stretch and not a huge fan. But even if we can’t shoe horn it in an established continuity, at least we have a worthy cartoon for the Planet of the Apes, even the title of the show fits.