Archaic direction can so often make old films hard to watch for people used to modern cinema. Even great films fall prey to this and, consequently, struggle to find a 21st century audience. However, the original ‘Planet of the Apes’ does a damn fine job of avoiding this pitfall; Franklin J. Schaffner’s direction is assured and, even by modern standards, the film features some beautiful cinematography.
This is all supported by an engaging and thought-provoking plot of three men crash landing on an alien planet that puts forward social questions that remain relevant over forty years on. This stands as a great testament to the films writers and, taking it even further back, Pierre Boule, the author of the 1963 source novel. The film balances its argument exquisitely, in the sense that any message never becomes preachy and it never overshadows the action and the drama.
Striking visuals, charming characters (both human and simian) and a thoughtful social commentary combine to create what can certainly be considered a landmark of science-fiction cinema that still remains watchable to this day.