Titan, out now
From Pierre Boulle’s Monkey Planet to the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – the complete story of the franchise…
There have been various attempts over the years to tell the story of the Apes’ large and small screen adventures, but few have come close to this lavish coffee table sized book, copiously illustrated with pictures, some very familiar, others rare. Unlike many, it doesn’t ignore the TV series (plural) – Return to the Planet of the Apes, the often overlooked animated adventure, is given ample space, both in the text and the illustrations, and even the additional scenes shot for the Planet of the Apes TV movies (currently running on the Horror Channel in the UK!) get a mention.
But of course the primary focus is on the big-screen movies, from the many differing versions of Boulle’s original story that preceded the 1968 film, to the assorted iterations of each of the sequels – the changes made to the latter three being particularly interesting (and less well documented elsewhere). The Tim Burton film gets its fair share, as do both of the new films – the advantage of this coming out sufficiently after the release of Dawn for plenty of material to be available, rather than trying to produce a book while effects work was still continuing.
It’s not just a history of the making of the movies: the various key departments are discussed, including, of course, the creation of the apes themselves, and a good chunk on the musical scores. Unless you’re a complete Ape fanatic, chances are you’re going to learn a great deal of new information from this – and even those who are wild about the franchise are likely to discover some fresh facts, given the amount of research into the archives the authors have done.
Verdict: Another stunning overview of a key SF screen franchise from Titan 10/10