to the Planet of the Apes
Cast Richard Blackburn, Henry Corden, Philipa Harris, Edwin
Mills, Claudette Nevins, Tom Williams
2 Discs, 13 Episodes
20th Century Fox
previously been released as part of the Planet of the Apes –
The Ultimate DVD Collection, the seldom seen cartoon series,
Return to the Planet of the Apes finally gets its own separate
release. Prior to the Tim Burton movie, Return to the Planet of
the Apes was the final chapter in the Apes franchise begun in
1968 with the original Planet of the Apes movie. With four
cinematic sequels as well as a live-action TV series preceding it,
the cartoon show had a rich heritage to draw on for its inspiration.
Return to the Planet of the Apes is a strange hybrid of all
the previous incarnations of the Apes story – including
Pierre Boulle’s original novel. The opening scenario is a
familiar one with a group of astronauts – Bill, Judy and Jeff –
crash-landing in a desolate wasteland, oblivious to the fact that
they are in fact on Earth in the far future. After losing Judy in an
earthquake, Bill and Jeff discover that the planet is inhabited by
mute humans ruled over by apes. Doctor Zaius from both the movies and
the TV series is the ape leader with General Urko (voiced by Henry
‘Fred Flintstone’ Corden) head of the guerrilla army –
also from the TV show. In the third episode it is revealed that
Judy’s disappearance is due to a group of mutant humans (or
‘humanoids’ as the Apes call them) who live underground
in the remains of man’s civilization. Clearly these mutants are
based on those seen in the movie Beneath the Planet of the Apes,
but here they have the advantage of being able to shoot laser beams
from their eyes and worship a tree rather than a nuclear missile.
most interestingly of all though, is that unlike the movies and the
live-action TV series, but in keeping with Boulle’s novel, the
Apes here possess an advanced technology on a par with Twentieth
Century Earth. This includes jeeps and tanks as well as television
to the Planet of the Apes is an interesting curiosity when viewed
as part of the whole Apes franchise. However, as an
entertaining piece of kids cartoon drama it is sadly lacking.
Produced by animators, DePatie-Freleng, Return to the Planet of
the Apes is quite typical of their prolific output in that the
animation is extremely basic, relying heavily on camera movement
rather than actual animation. Having said that, some of the visuals
of the decaying remains of human architecture are quite striking. The
dialogue is a little dry but competently delivered by the voice-cast
and enhanced by a music score that often evokes Jerry Goldsmith’s
distinctive soundtrack from the original movie. Although the plots of
the episodes are simple, solid, if unambitious story-telling, the
pace is often horribly slow.
a child of the Seventies and remember this series fondly, you’ll
probably snap this up in an instant. Fans have been eager to see this
series for a very long time and it’s release is long overdue.
Unfortunately some may find that the memory has cheated a little and
that Return to the Planet of the Apes isn’t quite the
gem that they remember.
not surprisingly, no extras have been included on this release.