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HESTfest [a marcus guide to the Planet of the Heston]


Planet of the Apes


Planet of the Apes (1968)

Planet of the Apes (2001)

Charlton Heston had a cameo role as an Ape in the remake of "PLANET OF THE APES," which opened in 2001 [The "We Want Chuck!" campaign worked: See "APES" ALERT! Below]. The new "Planet of the Apes" was not nearly as good as the original. AT BEST, this new "Apes" was a mostly clumsy and even, at times, campy complement to the classic "Apes." The two-hour remake (and it is, most definitely, a REMAKE) simply recycled the most interesting and intriguing elements of the original Heston film and the Boulle novel. (AT LEAST, the "new" film-makers (or their careful lawyers) were honest enough to credit the original Boulle novel in the opening credits and--in the closing credits--the original Wilson-Serling screenplay.) YES, the new "Planet of the Apes" told the story of a U.S. astronaut who ends up defending wild humans against their oppressive ape masters; however, it failed to make its telling particularly interesting or intriguing. (INCIDENTALLY, two other "classic" members also returned to "Apes": original co-star Linda Harrison ["Nova"] as a captured human ["Woman in Cart"], and 1968 Fox Studio chief Richard Zanuck as the remake's sole Producer.) [see PLANET OF THE APES (2001) link Above]
###CRITICAL REACTION in the U.S. was decidedly mixed. The prevailing viewpoint can best be summed up by the concluding words of syndicated critic Roger Ebert's review: "Ten years from now,it will be the 1968 version that people are still renting." The entertainment trade paper VARIETY unfavorably compared new lead Mark Wahlberg to classic star Charlton Heston: "To see Wahlberg move with such a blank sense of purpose...is to be reminded anew of the qualities--physical and otherwise--that Heston brought to intense, driven heroic roles."


Planet of the Apes DVD Link

+++CHUCK'S HAIRY ROLE: Charlton Heston's one-scene appearance was almost, by itself, worth the price of admission. Made up convincingly as a venerable chimpanzee or, in his own words, an "alpha ape," CHUCK skillfully plays an important deathbed scene with welcome class and dignity. The new "Planet of the Apes" was elevated by Heston's appearance. Some prominent CRITICS AGREED: It's "a strong scene." (L.A. Times); Chuck's a "scene-stealer." (Jack Mathews, N.Y. Daily News); It's a "neat cameo." (Richard Roeper, "Ebert & Roeper" TV program); Heston's simply "enchanting." (Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times); Chuck's one scene is "memorable." (Miami Herald); "There's no mistaking Chuck Heston even as a chimp in a rather fabulous cameo-homage." (Angie Errigo, Empire magazine) ###FAMILIAR LINES: In his completely uncredited cameo appearance, Heston cautions his son, General Thade, about the dangers of human inventiveness by showing him an ancient relic...a gun: "What you hold in your hand is proof of their [men's] power...against which our strength means nothing. It has the force of a thousand spears. I warn you: their ingenuity goes hand in hand with their cruelty. No creature is as devious or as violent....Damn them. Damn them all to Hell!" (OBVIOUSLY, this last line echoes Chuck's final utterance in the original "Planet of the Apes.") [*CHUCK ON THE ORIGINAL 'PLANET OF THE APES': "I'm very proud of it and I still get checks." (Movieline magazine, May, 2001)]


*******THE PHOTO ABOVE*******is of CHUCK as a dying Great Ape, chimpanzee father to the remake's principal villain General Thade (played by Tim Roth). Director Tim Burton told Premiere magazine that Heston "was so scarily believable. He has that thing that I have always liked in actors like Vincent Price: a tortured quality." Reportedly, Charlton Heston received more than $1 million for his "Planet of the Apes" cameo. [INTERESTINGLY, Chuck almost worked with Tim Burton before: In 1996, Heston was offered the role of a fanatical general in Burton's comedy "Mars Attacks!" But, Chuck felt the role was too "idiotic" and passed. Rod Steiger ended up in Chuck's role.]


+++"APES" ALERT:GREAT "APES" NEWS! The "We Want Chuck!" campaign worked; they remade "PLANET OF THE APES" with Charlton Heston! [See Above] HESTfest had asked fellow HESTONITES to contact the Fox Studio and Producer Richard Zanuck and tell them: WE WANT CHUCK--HE'S TAYLOR-MADE FOR THE NEW "APES"! {After all, a "Planet of the Apes" without Charlton Heston is like...a talking human in the Year 3978...they're both mutants!} SO, they (finally) stopped monkeying around and CHUCK (AND ALL HESTONITES) CAN NOW GO APEs! +++

1968 PoTA FEATURETTE: click here to download file