My vote for favorite Planet Of The Apes (1968) entry (in terms of overall entertainment value and cultural impact) has to be the original 1968 movie.
Adapted from the French novel [translated: "Monkey Planet"], the Hollywood movie didn't follow the novel's fantasy form. While it's still thought of largely as an epic sci-fi adventure, the original was actually a cleverly-couched allegory and satire. It intelligently explored and lambasted everything from race relations to religion to the nuclear arms race. But the producers' higher aims didn't dilute the entertaiment value of the picture. In fact, the original's finale is still considered one of the best "surprise endings" in cinema history (inspite of the message-driven script).
In terms of Hollywood movie-making impact, though Star Trek (TOS) preceeded it, the original 'Apes' spawned the first multi-million-dollar film/TV franchise and a wild merchandising bonanza. Its success paved the way for iconic franchises like "Star Wars" and "Star Trek". Jerry Goldsmith's innovative music was nominated for an Oscar. And the apes' mesmerizing make-up was the touchstone for all future fantasy flicks--netting John Chambers a special Oscar. The Academy even added a whole new award for best make-up/special effects because of Chambers's accomplishments!
So, what's your favorite Planet of the Apes entry?
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