This title has been on my list of movies to see for a VERY long time. I did try watching it a few years ago, but there was issues with the video beginning right around the time the crew crash-lands on the planet... y'know, the very beginning of the movie.
Otherwise, I suppose I haven't really given it a good chance simply due to something it suffers from something I like to call "Spoiler Syndrome"; a movie with a potential spoiler that most everyone knows about. Other movies that have this include 'The Empire Strikes Back', 'Citizen Kane', 'The Sixth Sense' and, in recent history, 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince', and that was ruined for most people while it was still only in book form. Anyway, I finally decided this page would be a great excuse to make it happen.
For those unfamiliar with the story, basically, a crew of space explorers start heading back home toward Earth. With the way time works in space (which could be a whole different article), they happen to be arriving about 700 years into the future. They put themselves into hyper sleep, and crash land on an unfamiliar planet.
The planet happens to be ruled by damn, dirty apes, and the human beings of the planet might as well be what we'd recognize as apes. The whole thing is actually a pretty brilliant study in human behavior, when you come right down to it. It's a role reversal, basically, and it shows us just how cruelly and unfairly we can treat animals. Basically it's a movie that says "how do YOU like it, huh?" It ends up being a pretty scary concept altogether, and does manage to make one think what some of our creatures of science have to go through.
Now, one thing I'll point out is that if you DO know how the movie ends (and really, who doesn't at this point?) and you're seeing it for the first time, the ending feels PAINFULLY obvious from the get-go. I can't help but feel if I went into this 100% clueless, I'd be able to predict the outcome pretty quickly. That's NOT something I generally brag about, either. My friends can tell you that I've missed some pretty obvious stuff in the past. Like, I had to watch 'The Sixth Sense' more than once to make sure it was accurate.
With that said, I can honestly say that I still really enjoyed the movie. The whole concept is pretty intriguing. It's not like it hadn't been done before (an alien race treating human beings as animals), but I'm not really sure where that concept DID originally come from. If I had to wager a guess, I'd imagine an early episode of 'Star Trek', but this has gotta be damn close. Aside from that, the makeup effects were fantastic for 1968, and it managed to win it's well-deserved Oscar for it.
If you're like me, and have become a fan of the remakes (not including that thing Tim Burton made), then I very highly recommend seeing the original if you haven't yet... but again, as I said before, who hasn't? I really was quite late with this one.