Planet Of The Apes: The Evolution Of The Legend
Simian saga scrutinised
Release Date: OUT NOW!
256 pages | Hardback Authors: Joe Fordham, Jeff Bond Publisher: Titan Books Something of a game of two halves, this overview of the Apes movies takes a tag- team approach, using two writers to cover distinct periods of franchise history.
Inevitably it’s the earlier chapters by Joe Fordham that are more compelling – the older a film is, the more likely it is interesting details will have emerged. Interweaving interviews old and new, Fordham‘ s account is particularly absorbing when discussing variant drafts or movies that never were – did you know, for example, that the first film was due to end with Charlton Heston’s hero shot dead by a gorilla? Or that the fourth was originally planned as a partial adaptation of Fred Hoyle’s 1957 novel The Black Cloud? Jeff Bond drew the short straw: the gig of covering the last two movies. Even the best journalist struggles to weave captivating material from the nuts and bolts of motion capture, and the results inescapably tend towards the dry.
Treasures from the Fox archives compensate, though. Concept art of ape helicopters! Photos of make- up tests – including a discarded mutant/ ape crossbreed! Ape extras playing cards! But a clip around the ear, please, for the designer who ensured that so many behind- thescenes shots are printed eye-strainingly small ( seriously, five centimetres square?!). Be prepared to spend rather too much time squinting. During the initial recording session for the original film’s score, composer Jerry Goldsmith conducted wearing an ape mask.